Worries have been raised about where children will go if a specialist school for excluded pupils that was previously rated as 'inadequate' is closed down.

College Hall Pupil Referral Unit has been earmarked for closure by Bracknell Forest Council. Its pupils are children who have found it difficult to stay in mainstream education, and many have special educational needs.

But the council says it is no longer financially viable to run as pupil numbers and government funding is expected to fall.

Council plans say that means money spent on College Hall could be better spent on special educational needs services elsewhere – and that its management agrees.

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The plans say: “Financial resources allocated to College Hall could be better utilised to enhance the overall educational landscape in the local area.”

Council leaders are set to approve its closure on Tuesday, May 21. But in a public consultation, some 34 people disagreed with the proposal.

Concerns included that children at College Hall who have been excluded from mainstream schools won’t have other suitable places to go. And there were questions about what will happen to the children currently attending College Hall.

In response, the council says it will try to reintegrate those excluded children who don’t have special educational needs support back into mainstream education. If this isn’t possible, it says it will arrange alternatives such as education outside of school.

It also says it is working to improve its special educational needs services elsewhere – such as by opening two new specialist schools. It says it is ‘committed to ensuring all students have access to appropriate support’ and that it is looking for new education providers.

A similar number of people – 31 – supported the closure plan. Headteachers of other Bracknell schools have also written in support.

College Hall was graded ‘inadequate’ in all areas by schools inspector Ofsted last year. It also ran into financial problems, spending £16,000 over budget between April 2022 and April 2023.

The council says the school currently gets £1.5 million for up to 56 children. But there are currently 26 pupils attended and numbers are expected to drop – along with funding.

Council documents say the council expects just 11 pupils to attend College Hall with just £500,000 of funding from September 2025.

If council leaders agree to support the closure, they will still need to persuade the government to drop its plans to turn College Hall into an academy.

The government to ordered College Hall to become an academy – run by a private organisation but still publicly funded – after the Ofsted inspection.

The council can only close College Hall if the government reverses this order. If the government refuses, the council says it will cut the number of funded places at College Hall.