By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan
Expansion plans have been tabled for a Ramsgate special school which caters for pupils from nursery to post 16 with profound, severe, and complex needs.
Foreland Fields School wants to create satellite sites at two mainstream schools in the area. These are Garlinge Primary School and Nursery in Westfield Road and Broadstairs College in Ramsgate Road.
It comes as the demand for special school places in Thanet grows but there is not enough space on the existing Foreland Fields School site in Newlands Lane.
Kent County Council (KCC) will review the proposals next week during a public meeting in County Hall, Maidstone.
A KCC report says: “The increasing demand for special school places in Thanet district, particularly for pupils with complex learning difficulties has led to Foreland Fields taking additional children. Foreland Fields is unable to expand on its main school site in Thanet.”
Foreland Fields, which has been judged ‘Good’ by Ofsted, moved to its current site in February 2017.
In addition to the main building, the school currently operates a primary satellite class at Garlinge Primary and Nursery School for KS2 pupils and a KS3 satellite with Hartsdown Academy in Margate.
A KCC report adds: “There is currently a Key Stage 2 satellite at Garlinge Primary School and it is therefore logical that the proposed Key Stage One class is established at this same school.”
If approved, Foreland’s total number of students will increase from at 200 to around 230. A total of 6 Year R and KS1 primary aged pupils will study at Garlinge Primary School and Nursery. Meanwhile, 12 KS4 students and 12 post-16 pupils will be educated at Broadstairs College.
Buildings at both schools would be reconfigured to provide the space for satellite provisions. Pupils connected to Foreland’s will have a separate class on the sites, receiving individual and small group teaching.
KCC’s total spend would be around £124,471. Marisa White, KCC’s area education officer, said she “fully supports” the expansion.
A verbal update will be given at KCC’s education cabinet committee on March 1.
This will be followed with a final decision by KCC’s cabinet member for education, Cllr Shellina Prendergast (Con).
Foreland Fields Charity has been fundraising for the school’s Field of Dreams project. The project will create an accessible sport and leisure hub behind Foreland Fields School, including a football pitch and sport field, inclusive pavilion, horticulture area, forest school, and arts area.
The hub will be used by the children and young people of Foreland Fields SEN School as well as partners from the wider local disability community, including Thanet Galaxy PAN Disability Football, Inclusive Sport, and East Kent Mencap.
The facility will provide a safe environment to develop a wide range of skills through activities such as football, cricket, athletics, cycling, forest school, music, drama and art projects, outdoor education and gardening, and will help create lifelong learning opportunities for children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities
The total cost of the project amounts to £1.2million.