Referral centre could go under review plan

A CONTROVERSIAL pupil referral unit could be set to close under a Doncaster Council review investigating how pupils with behavioural problems are taught.

Residents living near the Nexus Centre on Cedar Road, Balby, have complained about the facility and raised concerns about pupils leaving the site during the day.

The centre is used by pupils suspended from mainstream schools.

But under plans put forward in a new report, the centre could close and be replaced by several units around the borough.

An official consultation document states: "It is proposed to cease to maintain the present Nexus Centre.

"We want to use the expert leadership and skills of the headteacher and the specialist staff at the centre to develop a comprehensive outreach service from four locally-based specialist centres.

"The increased outreach capacity and improved resources at the four new centres will be available to support pupils in their local secondary schools.

It added: "The accommodation presently used by the Nexus team is unsuitable. It is also inappropriately located. It is a cause of site management difficulty for staff. In consequence the activities of the Centre are a regular source of concern to residents in the locality."

At primary school level, the document proposes to develop the Cusworth Centre in Doncaster, and the Long Toft Additionally Resourced Centre, in Stainforth to meet the specialised needs of primary pupils from ages three to 11, and who have behavioural, emotional and social learning difficulties.

They are also proposing the Cusworth Centre forms a specialist facility to be based at Bentley High Street Primary School in Bentley.

Doncaster Council's cabinet member for the children and young people's service, equalities and cohesion, Coun Andrea Milner, said: "There are some children and young people whose behaviour is challenging and who find it difficult to engage in learning, for a variety of reasons.

"We are committed to developing a set of new services to provide better and more inclusive arrangements for these pupils that will ultimately lead to improved educational and social outcomes for children and young people of Doncaster.

"I would encourage anyone with an interest to give their opinions on the proposals, or go along to one of the public meetings."

Public meetings will take place at Hatfield Visual Arts College tonight, at Doncaster South City Learning Centre in Balby Carr tomorrow and at Carr House Centre, on Thursday January 27.

All meetings start at 6.30pm.

Log onto www.doncaster.gov.uk/schoolorganisation for more details.

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