Special needs facilities planned for Hailsham and Peacehaven schools

Haven Heights school, Peacehaven SUS-160629-223259008
Haven Heights school, Peacehaven SUS-160629-223259008

East Sussex County Council is moving ahead with plans to set up new facilities for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) at schools in Peacehaven and Hailsham.

Two proposals which could see specialist in-school facilities set up at Peacehaven Heights Primary School and Grovelands Community Primary School in Hailsham, were approved by Bob Standley, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education, on Thursday (October 18).

Grovelands School Hailsham SUS-151205-162858001

Grovelands School Hailsham SUS-151205-162858001

The meeting heard how both facilities would provide in-school support for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are between the ages of seven and 11 .

Commenting on the plans Cllr Standley (Con. – Wealden North East) said: “I am very supportive of this, as you would expect. 

“I am very happy to agree the recommendations.”

Before approving the plans, he was  told there had been a ‘dramatic’ increase in need for facilities of this kind. This was as the number of children diagnosed with ASD had increased significantly in recent years, officers said.

Liberal Democrat councillor Alan Shuttleworth (Eastbourne; Langney) also welcomed the proposals.

Cllr Shuttleworth said: “I agree absolutely with what has been said. The provision is a good one and one we will all want to support.”

The Peacehaven proposals were also welcomed by  Sylvia Tidy (Con. – Crowborough South and St Johns),  who is the council’s lead member for children and families.

She said: “I think the provision at Peacehaven Community School – the senior school – has been extraordinary. Many of our looked-after children have been there and the work that they have done with them has been amazing.

“To have a primary section as well, where you will have that through from one area to another will help lift our figures enormously.

“I’m really in favour of this.”

Both proposals – which were decided separately – are expected to go forward to a statutory consultation process in the near future.

Officers said the Peacehaven Heights proposals are expected to be published in November, with a final decision expected to be made in December.

The Grovelands proposals, however, are expected to be delayed until an appropriate space can be built on the school site, officers said.