Beds, Herts & Bucks

Merger plan for special schools in Central Bedfordshire

Plans are under way to merge three special schools into one covering a large part of central Bedfordshire.

A council consultation has now started on the plans for one special school in Dunstable and Houghton Regis.

Glenwood, Hillcrest and Weatherfield would merge to make one special school, initially based across all three sites.

The merger proposal follows the model of a similar school already running in the east of the council area, a spokesman said.

Ivel Valley Area Special School was created in September 2010 following the merger of Hitchmead and Sunnyside.

An area special school would offer greater support for children with complex needs, and would pool expertise, experience and resources, the Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said.

Wide consultation

"Creating a larger special school under one leadership team would make it easier to attract, hold on to and develop the highest quality teaching and support staff.

"It will also offer the scope to provide training, support and development for other schools."

Anita Lewis, portfolio holder for children's services, said: "We want this consultation to be as broad as possible and would encourage anybody with an interest to respond.

"Parents, staff, community groups, other schools, residents, professional associations, MPs and any other interested parties are all welcome and encouraged to participate and contribute to the process."

She said no decision would be made until the views of everyone affected had been taken into account.

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