Suffolk special schools' future in doubt

THE future of Suffolk's stand-alone special schools has been thrown into doubt after it emerged Suffolk County Council wants them housed “in or alongside mainstream schools”.

THE future of Suffolk's stand-alone special schools has been thrown into doubt after it emerged Suffolk County Council wants them housed “in or alongside mainstream schools”.

There are currently nine special schools in the county serving the needs of 789 pupils.

The council wants all special schools to be merged with, or sited next to, mainstream schools by 2016.

Consultation over the future of special schools will become part of wider discussions over the school organisation review, under which the council recently voted to scrap all 40 middle schools.

Thomas Wolsey School in Ipswich is already earmarked for a move to, and partial integration with, Thurleston School and the Riverwalk School in Bury St Edmunds has begun a process of co-location on the Sexton Manor Community Primary site.

A spokesman for the council said: “Clearly it is government policy to mainstream wherever possible. There will be a lot of discussion and involvement with the community.”

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Graham White, deputy secretary of Suffolk National Union of Teachers (NUT) said: “Certainly we are in favour of integration.

“However, and it is a big however, it has to be properly resourced and there are some students for whom integration is not suitable.”

Other special schools in the county include Beacon Hill School, Belstead School, and Heathside School in Ipswich.

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