Proposal for the closure of The Cherry Trees Special School - Statutory Notice

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Introduction

On Wednesday 25 November 2020 Tower Hamlets Cabinet approved the recommendation to publish a statutory notice to publish a statutory notice on the proposal to close The Cherry Trees Special School

Notice is given in accordance with section 15 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (as amended by the Education Act 2011) and the School Organisation (Establishment and Discontinuance of Schools) Regulations 2013 that Tower Hamlets local authority intends to discontinue The Cherry Trees Special School with effect from 31 August 2021.

You can read the complete consultation document.


Contact details

Name and address of local authority publishing the proposal:

Tower Hamlets Council, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London E14 2BG.

Name, address and category of schools proposed to be amalgamated:

The Cherry Trees Special School, 68 Campbell Rd, London E3 4EA

The Cherry Trees is a registered community special school that currently makes day provision for up to 26 boys aged five to 11-years-old with social emotional and mental health needs.



Implementation

Date on which it is proposed to close the school:

Tuesday 31 August 2021.

It is proposed to implement the closure as follows:

By the time the school is proposed to close, all but seven of the pupils will have completed their primary education and moved onto secondary school. Discussions are being held with the parent/carers of the seven remaining pupils to plan their transfer to alternative provision at a time appropriate to their needs and taking into account parental preference. (see Appendix 1 for the stage one consultation).


Reason for Closure:

The Cherry Trees is one of six special schools in Tower Hamlets. It makes provision for primary aged pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) Needs. All pupils have an education, health and care plan (EHCP). Pupils come from across Tower Hamlets and neighbouring boroughs. It occupies a small site in the Bow area.

The Cherry Trees School has in the past been a valued asset to the borough’s provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It has previously been rated as outstanding by Ofsted. However, in recent times the school has underperformed and was placed in special measures following its most recent Ofsted Inspection in September 2019. In the period following the inspection, through the process of the borough’s SEND review and the development of its SEND Strategy, it has become evident that the specialist provision offered by Cherry Trees is no longer effective or fit for purpose. In addition, its number of pupils on roll has reduced to the extent that this already small School is no longer financially viable.

The local authority ambition is to create a better, more inclusive, and sustainable education service for the future. It must therefore ensure that it has the right provision in the right place at the right time for all the borough’s children. This is particularly relevant to children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The local authority is therefore now in the process of developing a new specialist and more inclusive provision, through the establishment of an SEMH Resource Base within Ben Jonson Primary School, in alliance with Bowden House Secondary SEMH School. This new provision, although not a direct replacement for Cherry Trees, will extend the range of options to meet the diverse needs of vulnerable children who academically are able to access a mainstream curriculum, albeit with significant modification, support and intervention. This supports the key principles of the SEND Strategy.

The local authority also needs to make best use of its finances. The Cherry Trees School is now very small and is not financially viable without significant transitional protection from the local authority. In the last year the local authority has had to allocate an additional £200,000 of transitional protection to the school to enable it to balance its budget. This subsidy is not sustainable and is not an effective use of resources.

Children with highly complex needs in specialist provision need additional help from professionals in health and social care. This is best provided where staff can work better together in a more integrated way. To be able to achieve this, Tower Hamlets needs to create economies of scale and this is not possible at a school with so few pupils.

Introduction

On Wednesday 25 November 2020 Tower Hamlets Cabinet approved the recommendation to publish a statutory notice to publish a statutory notice on the proposal to close The Cherry Trees Special School

Notice is given in accordance with section 15 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (as amended by the Education Act 2011) and the School Organisation (Establishment and Discontinuance of Schools) Regulations 2013 that Tower Hamlets local authority intends to discontinue The Cherry Trees Special School with effect from 31 August 2021.

You can read the complete consultation document.


Contact details

Name and address of local authority publishing the proposal:

Tower Hamlets Council, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London E14 2BG.

Name, address and category of schools proposed to be amalgamated:

The Cherry Trees Special School, 68 Campbell Rd, London E3 4EA

The Cherry Trees is a registered community special school that currently makes day provision for up to 26 boys aged five to 11-years-old with social emotional and mental health needs.



Implementation

Date on which it is proposed to close the school:

Tuesday 31 August 2021.

It is proposed to implement the closure as follows:

By the time the school is proposed to close, all but seven of the pupils will have completed their primary education and moved onto secondary school. Discussions are being held with the parent/carers of the seven remaining pupils to plan their transfer to alternative provision at a time appropriate to their needs and taking into account parental preference. (see Appendix 1 for the stage one consultation).


Reason for Closure:

The Cherry Trees is one of six special schools in Tower Hamlets. It makes provision for primary aged pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) Needs. All pupils have an education, health and care plan (EHCP). Pupils come from across Tower Hamlets and neighbouring boroughs. It occupies a small site in the Bow area.

The Cherry Trees School has in the past been a valued asset to the borough’s provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It has previously been rated as outstanding by Ofsted. However, in recent times the school has underperformed and was placed in special measures following its most recent Ofsted Inspection in September 2019. In the period following the inspection, through the process of the borough’s SEND review and the development of its SEND Strategy, it has become evident that the specialist provision offered by Cherry Trees is no longer effective or fit for purpose. In addition, its number of pupils on roll has reduced to the extent that this already small School is no longer financially viable.

The local authority ambition is to create a better, more inclusive, and sustainable education service for the future. It must therefore ensure that it has the right provision in the right place at the right time for all the borough’s children. This is particularly relevant to children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The local authority is therefore now in the process of developing a new specialist and more inclusive provision, through the establishment of an SEMH Resource Base within Ben Jonson Primary School, in alliance with Bowden House Secondary SEMH School. This new provision, although not a direct replacement for Cherry Trees, will extend the range of options to meet the diverse needs of vulnerable children who academically are able to access a mainstream curriculum, albeit with significant modification, support and intervention. This supports the key principles of the SEND Strategy.

The local authority also needs to make best use of its finances. The Cherry Trees School is now very small and is not financially viable without significant transitional protection from the local authority. In the last year the local authority has had to allocate an additional £200,000 of transitional protection to the school to enable it to balance its budget. This subsidy is not sustainable and is not an effective use of resources.

Children with highly complex needs in specialist provision need additional help from professionals in health and social care. This is best provided where staff can work better together in a more integrated way. To be able to achieve this, Tower Hamlets needs to create economies of scale and this is not possible at a school with so few pupils.