Parents have been left outraged by plans to close Westfield Specialist School’s Sixth Form in Leominster. Herefordshire Council is currently offering parents and residents the opportunity to take part in a consultation on plans to move the sixth form at Westfield School in Leominster, to a new facility in Hereford.

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From Herefordshire Council:

Herefordshire Local Authority proposes the closure of the sixth form phase at Westfield Special School in Leominster.

The proposed closure, subject to the outcome of this consultation, would mean that the last intake of sixth form pupils to Westfield School would be in September 2021. All pupils attending the sixth form at that point would be able to remain at Westfield School to complete their sixth form years if they chose, but no new pupils would join after that time.

Beyond the start of the 2021-2022 school year, the local authority proposes to commission all sixth form places for young people with severe, complex, multiple and profound learning difficulties at a new specialist sixth form college in Hereford city, called the Beacon College.

The opportunity to build the new college arose in 2017, when the local authority made a successful bid to the Department for Education for the funding. To find out more about the Beacon College please e-mail susan.woodrow@herefordshire.gov.uk .

The Beacon College opens in September 2021, and will be run by the Accordia Academies Trust (formerly Barrs Court Trust). The only other sixth form that provides the same educational offer for this type of need and age group in Herefordshire is currently Barrs Court Hub on Symonds St in Hereford. As an Academy Trust, Accordia Academies Trust will be running their own consultation on the future of the Barrs Court sixth form.

Westfield Special School currently offers young people between the age of 16 and 19 with severe, complex, multiple and profound learning difficulties a sixth form education at Westfield school. In recent years, the school has had approximately 12 pupils within its sixth form phase across the three year groups (Year 12, 13 and 14).  

It is anticipated that within three years of opening, Beacon College will offer sixth form education to approximately 60 students with these specialist needs. Herefordshire Local Authority has forecast the potential need for specialist places within this type of SEN and age group in the future: the new college has been built to be able to provide sufficient places for all young people in Herefordshire requiring a specialist sixth form place, including those few pupils who may wish to attend from neighbouring counties. In the long term, should numbers increase again, there is adequate space on the new site for the college to expand further.

Objectives

The objectives of the proposal to close Westfield Sixth Form are to:

  • Ensure that all young people with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) for severe, complex, multiple and profound learning difficulties have equal access to the same standard of high quality, ‚Äėstate of the art‚Äô educational facilities that are commensurate with, or better than, other educational settings in the county
  • Ensure that the curriculum offered is broad, and to ensure that pupils have the widest possible choice of courses including the opportunity to access some learning at the other 16-19 colleges, if appropriate, which will be adjacent to the new Beacon College in Hereford
  • Enable young people with these types of specialist need to socialise and mix with a much wider group of ¬†their peers as they move towards adulthood, in a similar way to other young people joining a college for their sixth form education
  • Enable young people with these types of specialist need to take up a broad range of opportunities, including wider work experiences and internships across the county, including, if they wish, in their home community
  • Provide a central sixth form that supports equitable travel time and distances for all post-16 learners with these types of specialist need in Herefordshire
  • Ensure that each educational setting can operate in a cost effective way by having a narrower age-range to focus on

More Details/Source: Statutory consultation on proposal to close Westfield School Sixth Form ‚Äď Herefordshire Consultations

Previous Update:

Herefordshire Council would like to apologise to parents for the short notice of the public meeting regarding the Westfield Sixth Form consultation.

This was an administrative error and we would like to reassure parents that the consultation runs until Tuesday 20 July, so there is time to provide feedback. We will host another public meeting on Friday 16 July at 5pm. Details of how to join the virtual meeting and the online consultation can be found on our website

Herefordshire Council is consulting about the future of Westfield School Sixth Form in Leominster, which provides high quality education for the young people between the age of 16 and 19 with severe, complex, multiple and profound learning difficulties. In recent years, the school has had approximately 12 pupils within its sixth form phase across the three year groups (Year 12, 13 and 14).  

Herefordshire Council proposes to commission all sixth form places for young people with severe, complex, multiple and profound learning difficulties at a new specialist sixth form college in Hereford City, called the Beacon College. The opportunity to build the new college arose in 2017, when we successfully bid to the Department for Education for the funding. The Beacon College opens in September 2021, and will be run by the Accordia Academies Trust (formerly Barrs Court Trust). 

It is anticipated that within three years of opening, Beacon College will offer sixth form education to approximately 60 students with specialist needs. The new college has been built to be able to provide sufficient places for all young people in Herefordshire requiring a specialist sixth form place, including those few pupils who may wish to attend from neighbouring counties.

You can find more information and complete the consultation questionnaire on our website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/consultations