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Pencalenick School 

Trust Consultation 

Consultation on Cornwall Council’s proposal to re-purpose funding from SEND residential to fund more SEND education day places

Pencalenick School is a countywide provision for pupils aged 11 – 16 who have an education, care and health plan which identifies a need for specialist provision.

The school has a residential provision which is open from Monday to Friday during school terms and which can accommodate up to 20 pupils per night.

The residential boarding provision is funded and commissioned by Cornwall Council.

The Council regularly reviews all of its contracts to ensure they offer the best possible service and best value for money for taxpayers. This includes reviews of funding and how to best allocate its budget. The Council has to take into consideration how to best spend this money in order to ensure Cornwall is in a position to offer the best SEND provision it possibly can. 

With this in mind, Cornwall Council has launched a consultation on its proposal to withdraw funding for overnight boarding facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities at Pencalenick School.  

This is a discretionary service currently used by pupils at a cost of more than £563,000 per year.   

After careful consideration, the Council has concluded that this does not offer the best value for taxpayers and is proposing that the money would be better spent on providing education day places for SEND pupils.  

As a Trust, we have a funding agreement with the Department for Education - not the Local Authority (Cornwall Council). As part of this agreement, we’re required (and legally obliged) to formally consult our school community on any significant changes to our current school offer. 

It's important to note that, if Cornwall Council weren't consulting on this proposed change, then we wouldn't be either.

So, while the decision on how funding is allocated is out of our control and entirely in the hands of Cornwall Council, as stated above, we are required to consult the school community (staff, parents and current pupils using the service) on the proposal that - should the funding be re-purposed - the residential aspect of the school provision would close. It's important to state that any change will not adversely impact on SEND education day provision at Pencalenick School.

This consultation will be running in conjunction with Cornwall Council’s consultation which can be found and commented on here.

As well as responding to Cornwall Council’s proposal, we welcome your responses to the questions below. All these responses will be considered carefully before we submit a Significant Change document to the Department for Education.

Please click on the following link to take part in the consultation - 


Cornwall Council Consultation 

Withdrawal of discretionary funding for SEN residential provision at Pencalenick School

Why change?

Cornwall Council is responsible for ensuring the funding available for the education of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Cornwall meets the needs identified in their Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans.

We currently have over 4000 children with EHC plans and this is increasing daily. Our SEND Transformation Strategy is focused on supporting mainstream schools to accommodate children where possible but there is an increasing need for SEN education day places which we are currently not able to meet.

Cornwall Council is currently funding the Special Schools Partnership Trust (SPT) £563,000 per year for SEN residential provision at their residential boarding facilities at Pencalenick School, which is a discretionary provision.

Overnight boarding can reduce the need for pupils to travel, provide respite to parents and guardians, and support pupils to learn skills for independent living.  Whilst overnight boarding can benefit pupils and their parents/guardians, use of the boarding facilities has been declining and the number of pupils using the service is low. None of the pupils using the boarding facility have an identified need for residential provision in their EHC plan.

The boarding facilities at Pencalenick House are provided through discretionary funding from the Council and the Council considers it appropriate for that funding to be directed to SEN education day places. We have to ensure funding reflects the special education required to meet current and forecast need, and continuing to fund overnight provision therefore no longer presents value for money.

What are we proposing?

Cornwall Council is proposing to no longer fund SEN residential provision at Pencalenick and reallocate the funding to enable the creation of additional specialist SEN education day places where there is need in Cornwall to help meet the growing need for these places.

We fully appreciate the benefit this service at Pencalenick School has brought to the families who use it and the hard work and dedication of the staff who run it. Cornwall Council has therefore asked SPT to commence a consultation with pupils, parents and guardians about the proposal to cease the boarding provision.

Before we make any decisions, we will take into account the feedback we receive through our consultation and, to the extent it is appropriate to do so, the results of SPTs consultation.

If the proposals are approved, it is anticipated that the boarding facility at Pencalenick School would close at the end of the current academic year.

The proposals are not expected to adversely impact on SEN education day provision at Pencalenick.

Please click on the following link to take part in the consultation -