Ash Field Academy residential provision
Ash Field Academy provides education and support to children and young people between the ages of 4 and 19 years of age, who have complex health and medical needs. All pupils have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
The school has capacity for 160 pupils and currently provides overnight residential provision for up to 18 pupils per night, four nights per week during term time. Annually, 35-45 (22-28%) of Ash Field Academy’s pupils are accessing the residential provision. Many of the pupils accessing the service have profound and multiple disabilities and require specialist care and facilities to support them.
Whilst staying in the residential facilities, pupils are involved in various leisure activities and have opportunities to practice their independence skills. Staying in the residential provision and the activities included are free of charge to pupils and parents.
None of the school's pupils have an EHCP stating residential provision is required, and no teaching staff are employed to deliver the service. However, there are a number of non-teaching staff employed by the Academy to deliver support and care for the pupils during their stay in the residential provision.
Ash Field Academy's residential provision is currently funded by the High Needs Block (HNB) grant which Leicester City Council receives from the Government to deliver educational services. The HNB grant is not intended for non-educational activities or services.
It is acknowledged the academy provides an outstanding residential service for its pupils and is highly regarded by all who use or are involved in the facility, not least the pupils and their parents/guardians. The service isn’t accessed by all pupils at the academy and is not available to children with SEND who aren’t pupils of the academy, of which there are over 1,000 across the city.
The council does have a legal duty to provide short breaks / respite support for some eligible children and young people with SEND, however this is supported through the council’s Disabled Children’s Service.
The purpose of this consultation is to invite views on whether the council should cease HNB funding for the residential provision from August 2024. The HNB is intended for educational services for SEND pupils across the city.
It should be noted that at this stage no decision has been made regarding withdrawal of funding for the residential facility.
If the post-consultation decision is to no longer fund the residential provision with the HNB grant, the council would work with Ash Field Academy to identify potential alternative funding.