Kettering special school will expand to help county's places crisis

Isebrook School is going to take on a new building so it can increase its intake

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 4:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 4:40 pm
The school will take on a new building lease at School Lane close to the town centre.

A Kettering special educational needs school is expanding to another site in order to cater for more pupils.

The Isebrook School is creating a new linked facility at the former Age Concern building in School Lane.

The school, which is part of the Creating Tomorrow academy trust, will lease the building from Northamptonshire County Council at a cost of £28,000 year.

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The move comes amidst a huge shortage of special educational need school places in Northamptonshire and a report to be considered by the county council tomorrow (October 14) estimates the expansion of the school could save the local education authority £43,365 per pupil, and make an annual saving this year to the school’s budget of just under half a million pounds.

Currently the local education authority is sending hundreds of students out-of-county for special education, which is taking a sizeable sum out of the annual £475m schools budget.

This summer the education officer in charge of SEN place planning said the system was at breaking point and pointed to data that showed that more than half of Northants primary school pupils with an educational health care plan now wish to be educated in a special school. This is a figure well above the national average.

Currently Isebrook School educates 206 pupils at its main site in Eastleigh Road and has been asked by the local education authority to increase this to 224 from September next year.

It has applied to the ESFA to increase its capacity to 252.

In a letter to parents consulting about the increased intake the school said: “The building is already designated for educational use and so provides a range of resources for academic and vocational activities, such as a catering kitchen and café area, hall and stage, hair salon. The building also provides excellent access to the local town centre to develop specific independence skills (having excellent transport connections for travel training), whilst also being close enough to Isebrook to access shared resources, such as independent cooking suite, land studies area and sports facilities.

“Isebrook has worked hard to build links with the local community in Kettering, and being based in the town centre enables the connected provision to make best use of these positive relationships and strengthen them further, enabling the students to build social capital, becoming better connected with their community, and so providing better opportunities for their future.”

The county council’s cabinet will make a final decision about the building lease tomorrow.

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