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The Special Partnership Trust Area Resource Bases

The Special Partnership Trust builds a collaborative partnership with ‘host’ mainstream schools that support an ARB. In practice this will involve keeping the ARB as an integral part of the mainstream school, but led and supported by the SPT. There are significant benefits to be achieved for pupils and staff in both communities, by accessing and enhancing the collective expertise of this ambitious SEN partnership. Pupils will benefit from a wider range of specialist resources, learning opportunities and staff supported by an extensive CPD and research network.

In practice this involves;

  • An experienced and successful leader with SENCO/ARB leadership experience takes a strategic lead across the partnership, ensuring that both mainstream and specialist needs are represented.
  • ARB pupils have their mainstream school named on their EHCP, but are registered at Pencalenick School in the Special Partnership Trust (SPT).
  • Safeguarding is a priority responsibility for both partners with clear reporting protocols that keep both parties informed. The SPT take direct responsibility for safeguarding of pupils on their register and accessing their provision.
  • Performance data is accountable to the registered special school, rather than mainstream provision.
  • ARBs are staffed and resourced by the SPT; benefiting from specialist CPD, research, staffing capacity and enhanced access to specialist equipment.
  • ARBs are quality assured by the SPT in partnership with the host school.
  • Inclusive learning remains part of the core ARB offer in mainstream whenever appropriate and practicable.
  • Pupils remain a key part of the host school community, wearing their school uniform and following the code of conduct, values and expectations. This is reinforced by the SPT support team.
  • Ofsted standards apply equally to both mainstream and specialist provision; inspectors take account of the quality of provision where the pupil is registered as well as where they are taught.
  • Parents have direct contact and support from ARB staff, and have access to the mainstream school community events as previously.
  • Funding goes to the SPT in accordance with existing banding and formula allocations. An agreed proportion is passported to the host school to fund heating, cleaning and maintenance costs.
  • Mainstream ‘host’ schools have a legal lease agreement to provide suitable access to ongoing appropriate accommodation, to secure the existing rights of access for the pupils and their families.
  • The LA retains all rights in terms of admissions and statutory SEN responsibilities. If there were a need for complaint or arbitration this is facilitated by the LA.


Collaboration: Working together to ensure the best possible learning experience and outcomes for high need SEND pupils across the county learning from/developing consistent application of best practice to enable best practice across establishments.

Support: integrated network of professional SEND support, benefiting from both mainstream and special school teaching teams and expertise. Reducing isolation and enabling a shared, proactive forum for action research, establishing consistent standards, policy and practice, priorities and problem solving. The partnership will add capacity emergency when staffing issues arise or needs alter at short notice.

Improved Outcomes: Maintaining high quality SEND provision across all establishments to ensure pupils transition into adult learning and employment with the best possible outcomes, securing and cementing their futures and life chances in the world of work

CPD: A relentless drive towards ensuring staff expertise, subject knowledge, responsibility for keeping up to date with educational initiatives and personal motivation to develop their learning and skills.

Integrated access to support services: A strategic outreach model, developed and refined across partnership schools. Referral support for complex needs, shared packages of support such as Ed Psych services and specialist staff trained in complex SEN.

Shared Policy and Practice: Building upon what is already great in each school and sharing expertise to ensure efficiency in all areas (including administration), whilst building common models.

Admissions: An enhanced understanding of the rationale behind the LA’s placement processes, resulting in improved opportunities to develop staffing skills and expertise in advance of placement, supporting the development of refined banding and admissions criteria.

SEN Leadership: Leaders who know first-hand about the day to day experience of teaching and management of SEND, adding value in assessing progress for learners with complex needs.

Common aims and goals: Building great relationships within and between schools, a shared ethos with a focus on maximising pupil potential, growth and outcomes through outstanding teaching and learning opportunities. In practice this ensures that best practice in pedagogy and support is identified, developed and shared to enrich the curriculum and make efficient use of resources across the partnership.

Financial: Economies of scale: being able to share resources, buy bulk and capitalise on the benefits of being a larger organisation, mitigating limited flexibility of funding for small cohorts.

Moderation: Opportunities to moderate pupil work and compare outcomes within and between key stages, across special, ARB and mainstream provision.

Policy: Consistent policy and protocols held across all the Special Partnership schools, adapted to dovetail into the specific mainstream partner school.

Placements: Pupils would have their mainstream ARB school named on the EHCP, but be registered at Pencalenick  School

Accountability: Quality assurance will be carried out by the SPT, but in partnership with the mainstream partner to respect the standards and values of the placement school. ARB staff will be employed by the SPT and accountable to them in terms of line management, but responsible to the host school in terms of their standards and expectations.

Progress: In time, all SPT schools and ARB provision will have tracking and monitoring protocols aligned regarding outcomes to enhance comparative data.

Parents: Many parents have elected an ARB setting for the inclusive opportunism, and these will be a core characteristic of the SPT offer. If the provision is performing well, the external impact will be minimal, the enhancements will come through improved outcomes and greater consistency in terms of staff support. If the provision is struggling, then they will benefit from the support and leadership of the broader SPT.