Increase Heart of the Forest (HOTF) Community Special School

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This proposal seeks to permanently increase Heart of the Forest (HOTF) Community Special School from 115 places to 125 places to enable the school to provide 10 new places for children and young people aged 4-11 who have a primary need of Social Emotional and Mental Heath (SEMH) from September 2022.


What is proposed for the Heart of the Forest Community Special School and why?

Gloucestershire County Council is formally seeking views on plans to expand Heart of the Forest Special School from 115 to 125 places from September 2022 in order to provide pupils with a primary need of SEMH with local and cost effective provision.

• The High Needs Strategy approved by Cabinet in January 2019 sets out the aim of ensuring that children and young people are able to have their need for education provision met locally.

• Gloucestershire County Council’s SEND Commissioning Strategy 2019-24 identifies the need for additional special school places in the county for children and young people with moderate and complex special educational needs to meet the increase in this cohort.

• The increase in numbers and change in designation will enable the council to meet its statutory duty to provide sufficient high quality school places in the county to meet demand.

The council has a statutory duty to provide specialist placements when they are needed – therefore if places are not available locally, independent school placements will need to be sourced at a much higher cost to the council. These placements may involve considerable travel for pupils to and from school.

LA officers have held discussions with HOTF School. There is a requirement for additional SEMH places throughout Gloucestershire and there is currently no provision in the Forest of Dean area.

The Headteacher and Governors are supportive of the proposed increase in places and the addition of a SEMH provision.

This proposal seeks to permanently increase Heart of the Forest (HOTF) Community Special School from 115 places to 125 places to enable the school to provide 10 new places for children and young people aged 4-11 who have a primary need of Social Emotional and Mental Heath (SEMH) from September 2022.


What is proposed for the Heart of the Forest Community Special School and why?

Gloucestershire County Council is formally seeking views on plans to expand Heart of the Forest Special School from 115 to 125 places from September 2022 in order to provide pupils with a primary need of SEMH with local and cost effective provision.

• The High Needs Strategy approved by Cabinet in January 2019 sets out the aim of ensuring that children and young people are able to have their need for education provision met locally.

• Gloucestershire County Council’s SEND Commissioning Strategy 2019-24 identifies the need for additional special school places in the county for children and young people with moderate and complex special educational needs to meet the increase in this cohort.

• The increase in numbers and change in designation will enable the council to meet its statutory duty to provide sufficient high quality school places in the county to meet demand.

The council has a statutory duty to provide specialist placements when they are needed – therefore if places are not available locally, independent school placements will need to be sourced at a much higher cost to the council. These placements may involve considerable travel for pupils to and from school.

LA officers have held discussions with HOTF School. There is a requirement for additional SEMH places throughout Gloucestershire and there is currently no provision in the Forest of Dean area.

The Headteacher and Governors are supportive of the proposed increase in places and the addition of a SEMH provision.

Page published: 17 May 2021, 07:00