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Portsmouth Inclusion Centres

What is an Inclusion Centre (IC)?

An Inclusion Centre is a dedicated special needs centre attached to a mainstream school.  It provides an inclusive education for children with specific needs who may find mainstream inaccessible at present, but have the potential to be able to access mainstream classes over time. Our aim is to prepare children for working in mainstream, part time initially, then slowly reintroducing them into mainstream education as and when they are ready. Inclusion Centre’s have fewer numbers of children and higher adult to child ratios of specialist staffing.

About Inclusion Centres in Portsmouth

What is the difference between an Inclusion Centre and a Special School?

The difference between an Inclusion Centre and a special school is the level of need required by the child and the curriculum they can access. The child in an Inclusion Centre will generally have less needs than those in special school, as those in the Inclusion Centre are hopefully slowly reintroduced into mainstream over time, with the ability of accessing the national curriculum. Those attending special school are provided a more specialised curriculum which will meet their needs on a more individual basis.

Why would a child attend an Inclusion Centre?

An Inclusion Centre could be sometimes regarded as a ‘halfway’ house, between mainstream and special school, with the best of both worlds! It allows for some special educational needs to be catered for, but set within a centre where they can still access elements of a mainstream education, dipping in and out to suit their needs.  Sometimes a child finds being in a mainstream classroom with up to 30 children too stressful, and either their physical, emotional, social and/or cognitive needs are too great and a smaller group of children with more adults to cater for their needs is what is required. The larger mainstream class can either be a distraction from their learning or their needs may become a distraction for others learning.

Do Inclusion Centres have entry criteria?

Yes. Inclusion Centres have an entry criterion, as do special schools. An Inclusion Centre will have specific types and level of needs it caters for. The child will also need to have an Education Health and Care Plan awarded stating those specific needs and the child will need to show potential for reintegration back into mainstream. However, each year reintegration will be reviewed and the appropriateness will be determined depending on the child’s needs.

How do you secure a place at an Inclusion Centre?

If you child is about to start school then your child’s nursery SENCO or the Educational Psychologist who helped with your EHCP application will be able to advise you and request the referral to the Portsmouth SEND team. If your child is already at school and needs a transfer to an Inclusion Centre then the school SENCO is who will need to make the referral to the SEND team for you, after an annual review of the EHCP has been completed. There is a specified timetable for this, so please ask the SENCO for details in order for the deadlines to be met.

You are welcome to visit the Inclusion Centres to discuss your child’s needs prior to application, who will also be able to advise you on the process and criteria for entry. The application needs to be made to the SEND Team who will put it forward to the Inclusion Support panel (ISP). Once a place has been allocated by the SEND team, the Inclusion Centre will contact you directly to arrange a transition meeting or visit, later in the summer term.

What is the Specialist Inclusion Support Panel?

The Specialist Inclusion Support panel is made up of professionals from across the city who work in Education and Health. They meet up to discuss each case individually to decide if the child’s needs meet the criteria for either Inclusion Centres or Specialist School provision. Once it has been decided that the criteria have been met and all those are shortlisted, another panel is convened to decide on the priority and severity of need, then the children are ranked in high to low priority. Places are then allocated determined by how many are available at that time. For those that aren’t allocated a space, alternatives will be looked into and occasionally mainstream places are allocated with additional support until a space becomes available.

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