Senior councillors have approved proposals to turn a residential special school for boys into a co-educational centre for pupils to provide more specialist education places.
The agreed proposal will see Brompton Hall School, near Scarborough, also offer places to girls and young people identifying as non-binary and will see residential provision phased out. Changing from a residential to a day school will allow it to expand and increase the number of day places from 67 to 85 pupils from September 2023.
The final decision on the changes was made by our executive today (Tuesday, 8 November), following a series of public consultations over the last few months.
Brompton Hall School currently offers education and residential places four nights a week to boys aged eight to 16, but the school has experienced significant challenges and a steady decline in demand for residential places.
Overall demand for specialist school places for all children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH) is continually outstripping supply and the proposed changes to Brompton Hall should help ease pressure for places in North Yorkshire.
Converting from a residential school frees up resources and allows space to be turned into areas for teaching and learning so the site can expand the number of places it can offer.
The Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale area does not currently have provision for girls with SEMH needs. The changes to Brompton Hall should allow them to remain closer to their families and be educated in their local community.
The move is part of a concerted effort in North Yorkshire to increase special education provision in the county.
North Yorkshire is in urgent need for more specialist school places for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs and it is estimated an additional 350 specialist places will be needed in the next five years. We recently submitted a bid for a new special school in Northallerton to be included in the Government’s next Special Free School programme.
If our application to the Department for Education is successful, it would see part of the former Northallerton school site on Grammar School Lane converted into a school for about 120 pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH) needs.
Executive member for children’s services, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said: “There is an ever growing need for more specialist school places for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs in the county, which reflects a wider, national trend.
“This new development will provide that much-needed provision for girls and pupils in the east of the county and enable them to benefit from being educated closer to their family, friends and local community.”
The decision to open Brompton Hall to girls and expand the number of places available in the east of the county follows several consultations on the changes. A public consultation on the proposals in February and March this year and a further consultation on the final proposals taking place between June and September.
No new residential placements will be made from September, with the remaining, existing residential pupils due to leave the school at the end of the academic year in 2024.