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Jurby Primary School Special Needs Unit 1 June 2006

The Department of Education will do everything it can to ensure a smooth transition for the children affected by the closure of the Special Needs Unit at Jurby Primary School said the Minister for Education - David Anderson MHK .

‘The Department fully appreciates the concerns of the parents and has offered further meetings to reassure them that the children can be transferred to other units without compromising their education’, said Mr Anderson.

If the children relocate to Auldyn Infants School, which is the most up-to-date unit, a member of support staff from Jurby could transfer with them to help with continuity. Familiarisation visits to other units for parents and children would be organised and whichever unit the parents choose the transitions would be phased and centred around the child’s best interests, with multi-agency reviews involving professional advisors and of course, the parents.

The Minister continued: ‘The professional advice to the Department is that the transfer of the children from Jurby can be managed to safeguard the quality of their education. If I were not satisfied about that I would not have endorsed the decision.' 'Since numbers are rising in the east of the Island, we need to relocate resources to ensure that the education of children in those Special Needs units does not suffer because of over crowding.‘
Mr Anderson added: ‘Faced with a choice between moving three children while protecting their education, or allowing the education of other children to deteriorate, the answer is quite clear.’
He concluded: ‘The Isle of Man is well-resourced for special needs, but the Department still has a duty to make the best use of those resources across the whole Island. We have to be fair to all the Island’s special needs children.’

The Department of Education’s Special Needs Service has a total staff of 236 which look after 650 children requiring varying levels of special needs support. Of these children, 65 will spend some time, if not all, in special units within schools across the Island. The current total annual budget for this service is £6.75 million.

For further information regarding the Special Needs Services see "Special Education Needs and Psychology Service" on our website.

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