School could provide study until age 19

Headteacher Jeanette Tate from Ravenshall School in Dewsbury.
Headteacher Jeanette Tate from Ravenshall School in Dewsbury.

A high school for pupils with learning difficulties and special educational needs could permanently offer post-16 education.

Ravenshall School in Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury has been running a pilot scheme to help pupils continue to learn beyond 16 and with the transition into adulthood. The scheme could be made permanent under plans to change the school’s upper age limit from 16 to 19.

Headteacher Jeanette Tate said: “Most of our students are ready to go to Kirklees College by the time they reach 16 but a small cohort every year from the three complex needs schools in the area - Ravenshall, Lydgate and Longley - need a bit more support, and that’s really the purpose of the scheme.

“If plans are approved, they will plug a gap for some of our youngsters who have not quite got the maturity for a bigger step into a bigger environment.

“It will provide an environment for 16 to 19-year-olds which is a bit more supportive and ultimately it will get the kids prepared for adulthood and further education.”

It is proposed the school will offer 16 study places for students across year 12 and 13. It will provide personalised support including work-based learning, access to leisure activities, work in the community and independent living.

The aim is to prepare students to then attend college, develop “resilience and skills” and progress into adulthood.

Ms Tate said: “In my opinion, it will provide and outstanding provision to meet specific needs of young people. “We have our fingers crossed that the plan will be approved and build on the success of the pilot scheme.”

Members of Kirklees Council’s cabinet are advised to approve the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday.