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New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

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5siamese7
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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by 5siamese7 » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:27 pm

Had a look to-day and I think they will use the old access road to the pavilion.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by Retsum » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:37 pm

So far no one has commented on the relative merits of having (a) a purpose built school for pupils with special needs and (b) a unit for special needs within a large general school. My wife has experience of both options within the area of hearing impairment (deaf children). She started as a subject teacher but at the last school she taught at when we were in London, there was a unit for the hearing impaired. She became interested in the problems of deaf kids: so much so that the local authority paid for a year's leave of absence to obtain the certificate for teachers of the hearing impaired.

The way this system works is that teachers of the deaf accompany pupils to subject classes (where necessary) and sign to them in BSL (British Sign Language). They can then be given additional tutorial support back in the Unit. It does mean that the kids will have a lesser choice of subjects because time is needed for tutorial support, hearing tests, speech therapy and other problems that may arise depending on how the kids became deaf. The advantage of this system is that there is a full range of subject teachers and deaf kids can associate with their hearing peers and form relationships although the extent to which that happens depends on the personalities involved.

When we were thinking of returning to Scotland a vacancy arose in Aberdeen School for the Deaf and my wife got the job. This was a small, special built and purpose equipped school for deaf kids. Prior to that local authorities (including Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire) paid for special needs kids in their area to go to Donaldson's (initially located in Edinburgh but now in Linlithgow) - a private residential centre of excellence for teaching kids with a range of special needs, including hearing impairment. The reason Aberdeen chose to build there own school was the high cost of sending them to Donaldson's. The advantage of this system is that you have a close knit community where everyone knows everyone and can sign. Unfortunately it is also a weakness since when the kids leave they need to integrate into the hearing community. The other problem with a small special school is finding subject teachers who are also qualified teachers if the deaf. As a result the choice of subjects tends to be restricted. After many years Aberdeen decided it was no longer viable and opted to go for the Hearing Impaired Unit in a large general school and my wife was given the job of setting up that Unit.

So it would appear that the better option is to have Special Needs Units within large general schools.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by glenshena » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:47 pm

I read in the Largs Newspaper this week that the Special Needs school has now got the go ahead and will be built on Auchenharvie playing fields. It will cost 24 million pounds. The 4 pre-existing special needs schools will all be closed.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by John Donnelly » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:34 pm

Perhaps somebody could check this out.
I am sure that my father told me years ago that when the Auchenharvie estate was bequeathed to the towns of Stevenston and Saltcoats, it was under the explicit understanding that it would only ever be used for the benefit of the citizens of the two towns.
Can we check out the original terms and conditions of the bequest?
The conversation with my father was at the time they built the Academy. He was dead against it.
JD.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by iain » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:06 pm

JD, I hope someone is more knowledgeable about these things than I am - I’m not quire sure how one would confirm this information. Perhaps getting a copy of the original title deeds might shed light on the issue. I suspect that the Council would argue that building a new school brings net benefit to the people of Stevenston and Saltcoats, more than compensating for the loss of playing fields! Indeed, if I remember correctly, the Council documents pertaining to the proposals even went so far as to state that building a new school on the football pitches will actually ‘enhance’ pitch provision at the site - thus bringing even more benefit to the local community! (They, of course, gave no explanation of why they thought destroying playing fields actually enhances playing field provision.)

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by iain » Thu May 03, 2018 6:17 pm

The plans were revealed to the public today:

Image

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by tapnagol » Sat May 05, 2018 8:45 am

As I see it it is a no brainier. Special needs project wins hands down, particularly when it is in direct competition with a Football pitch. I believe that a consolidated special needs facility is long overdue for the area. It's construction, wherever, is not intended as an asset to the community but God knows that it will surely be an asset to all the less fortunate , who require such a place. Public input is of course vital, as in all such projects and if handled sensitively and with regard to the greater need, then the football pitch must be sacrificed.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by iain » Sat May 05, 2018 1:28 pm

I agree that a new, single facility to support those with special needs is a good thing and should go ahead. I say this because the idea of having a new school somewhere in North Ayrshire was supported by the majority of the parents concerned – and, obviously, this demonstrates that a new ASN school is the best option. However, this is not a competition between a new ASN school and a town’s playingfields; seemingly it was possible to have both. The Council had a list of about 10 sites suitable for the new school. However, at no point did they consult the parents, or anyone else, about where they wanted the new school located (the consultation, according to the Council, was only about whether – not where – a new school should be built). I assume that the Council has picked the site that suits themselves best (for financial reasons) rather than the one that suits the pupils, parents and wider community. I admit this is just an assumption. I’ve put in a FOI request to the Council for details of what other sites they considered for the school and why they were rejected. This is an entirely academic exercise though, because the building of the school on the playingfields is a done deal. However, when the Council destroys public greenspaces and other community assets, I like to understand why!

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by sweet caroline » Sat May 05, 2018 3:08 pm

I,m wondering how bullying is going to be managed. Perhaps the pupils at the special school will be allowed out at different times from the other school.

SC

See-https://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/news/ ... ities.aspx

2020-The new school is expected to open in 2020 and will feature a large hydrotherapy pool, gym facilities, soft play, playground equipment and outdoor learning spaces. The school will cater for around 180-200 pupils, however, the occupancy could vary depending on individual pupil’s specific needs.
“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.” Thomas Fuller

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by tapnagol » Sun May 20, 2018 5:43 pm

Iain, I understand where your'e coming from.as I stated earlier, the subject should have been better handled by the authority, who if they did not consult with those who are most closely involved or affected by their decision we're guilty of insensitivity at least. I would imagine that the decision would not be made primarily on financial grounds although it would certainly be a major factor, justifiably, on account of the substantial cost of the venture, borne by the community charge and tax payers. While consultation appears to have been limited, I believe that the decision would not have been made lightly. Good luck with your enquiry.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by brian f » Mon May 21, 2018 9:24 pm

iain wrote:
Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:33 pm
North Ayrshire Council hope to build a new school for children with additional needs, which will replace the various additional needs schools dotted around the local area. If this represents an improvement in the quality of education and care received by additional needs pupils, then I applaud the Council for deciding to spend more money this way (OK, they’re not actually spending more money, because the Council admits that the centralisation of the various additional needs schools will result in the Council spending hundreds of thousand of pounds less on additional needs children!).

This new school is going to be built, it’s just a question of where. NAC had originally identified 10 possible locations for the school, but they decided, without proper public consultation, to choose ‘Auchenharvie’ as the location. Various employees of the Council have been explicit about the fact that the school is planned for the PLAYINGFIELDS at Auchenharvie. Officially, the Council is pretending not to know where at Auchenharvie the school will be built. This pretence is presumably designed to rob the community of the chance to object early and effectively to the destruction of their town’s sporting facilities.

Another unfortunate tactic they’ve used to discourage the community from objecting to locating the new build on playing fields is to ask a ridiculously leading consultation question. They ask:

‘It is proposed that a new Additional Support Needs School (for children and young people aged 2-18 years) be built, at a site, adjacent to Auchenharvie Academy, Saltcoats Road, Stevenston. Do you agree with the above proposal?’

Instead, there are really two questions that they should be asking: 1) do you think a new additional needs school should be built and 2) should we build it on playingfields in Stevenston. They’ve purposefully conflated the two questions to make it difficult for the community to object to their playing fields being developed. That is, the Council has implicitly framed the whole consultation as a discussion on whether a new additional needs school should be built (a proposition everyone would agree with). In reality, it’s simply a debate about whether a new school should be built on playingfields or a new school should be built in a different, more socially sensitive location (after all, there are 9 other suitable sites for the school identified by the Council).

This is statistically one of most deprived areas in Scotland, North Ayrshire has more obese kids than anywhere else in Scotland and North Ayrshire is consistently identified by empirical research as having the worst quality of life in UK. Destroying sporting facilities in such an area is just perverse. And the particularly sickening thing is that destroying community playing fields is in large part just a way for the Council to save money (they own the land already, so they don’t need to buy it before building the school).

The online consultation runs until 4th November. By ticking a box, those who support the school being built on the playing fields at Auchenharvie can ‘agree’ and those who support it being built elsewhere can ‘disagree’. A small ‘comments’ box is provided if respondents want to elaborate on their response.

http://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/counci ... ision.aspx
Ian, Children with additional needs. Would that include children with mental health issues. Which is certainly causing much suffering.

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Re: New additional needs school - destruction of Auchenharvie playing fields

Post by iain » Tue May 22, 2018 5:17 pm

Brian, I’m no expert, but I assume that ASN schools cater for children with mental health issues at the more severe end of the spectrum.

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