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'Difficult' children may get their own school
A WORCESTER school – which has had one of the highest expulsion rates in the country – is looking to teach some of its more challenging pupils in a disused office block.
Tudor Grange Academy in Bilford Road wants to take over a three-storey self-contained office building off City Walls Road and use it to offer an “alternative education” for up to 12 of its 11 to 16-year-olds struggling to cope with mainstream lessons.
A planning application submitted to Worcester City Council says students would benefit from “focused intervention appropriate to their learning and social needs”, making them less likely to be permanently excluded from the academy, as well as more employable later in life.
In March, principal Claire Maclean defended the school’s exclusion policy after figures showed it had expelled the second highest number of children from any academy in England. The academy permanently excluded 15 pupils (or 2.27 per cent of its pupils) in the academic year 2009/10 – the year the academy started.
No one from Tudor Grange was available for comment at the time your Worcester News went to press.
But Warndon county councillor Alan Amos raised concerns about the school’s plans. Coun Amos said: “The trouble with academies is most really want to select their intake and that’s not possible.
“They need to accept their fair share of students across the ability and behaviour range.
“As a former teacher, I can quite accept that sometimes one disruptive pupil can be a real nuisance to the whole school and you have to give them the best chance of life.
“But a school has to take the rough with the smooth and I’m concerned academies seem to take exceptional concern when they have pupils who need extra attention.”
Tudor Grange is seeking permission for the change of use of 6 Sansome Street from office to education and will not make any internal or external changes to the building.
According to the planning application, the academy wants to incorporate the premises as part of its educational buildings and intends to develop an offsite alternative provision base to expand the curriculum that is on offer in the main school.
It states the new premises will offer alternative education for pupils who have “struggled to access or engage with mainstream lessons” and will operate from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
There will be a minimum of two teaching staff that will work with the students at any time and one of these positions will be a new post created by the proposed scheme. Students will be taught maths, English, art, information technology, cooking and life skills in small groups.