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(UK) Dudley: "Fierce opposition" to "inclusion hubs" for kids with "complex" needs

Aug 7, 2023, (UK) Stourbridge News: Plan for early years inclusion hubs in Dudley to go ahead

W. Midlands

DUDLEY Council is pushing through plans to shake-up education provision for children with special needs, despite fierce opposition from parents.

The council announced today (Monday August 7) that its proposal to create five early years inclusion hubs across the borough will go ahead.

Parents of little ones with complex learning needs had been campaigning for the last few months for services to stay at Netherton Park Nursery which has been home to much-praised Leapfrog and Leapfrog 2 facilities.

Mums and dads protested on the steps of the council house and handed over a petition to try to get education chiefs to change their minds about the plan – as they were worried five separate new hubs may not live up to the excellent reputation that the Leapfrog facilities have earned.

The council, however, has confirmed the plan to decentralise the service for nursery children with special needs will go ahead – with the new neighbourhood-based hubs expected to be up and running by autumn half term.

The authority has said the network of hubs will offer personalised, targeted and specialist interventions for children and families and they will have staffing capacity that meets the needs of children with special educational needs.

Council bosses say a procurement process for the hubs has recommenced following a consultation that took place in June.

Councillor Ruth Buttery, the council’s cabinet member for children’s services and education, said of the plan: “This exciting and important work will enable more children with additional needs to access more support and provision in their local community….

The decision to press ahead with the plan was signed off by Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, in the absence of Cllr Buttery – official documents confirm.


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