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Marshfields Special School age-range change


Contact Information

Peterborough City CouncilSand Martin HouseBittern WayFletton QuaysPeterboroughPE2 8TY

Alexander Brown


Consultation Started: 13 Jan 2022 - Consultation Ended: 10 Feb 2022

Resolved: At the end of the petition period


Peterborough City Council is consulting on changing the age range of Marshfields Special School from 9 (National Curriculum (NC) Year 5) to 19 years to 7 (NC Year 3) to 19 years. The school will offer up to 8 places in both Year 3 and Year 4. This will increase the school’s capacity from 175 to 191 places.

School details

Marshfields is a community special school offering 175 places for children and young people with learning difficulties aged between 9 and 19 years old, all of whom have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. The school was judged Good by Ofsted at its most recent inspection in September 2016.


Description of alteration and evidence of demand

The Special Educational Needs / Disability (SEND) census data (see table 1) shows that the number of children with an EHC Plan in Peterborough rose by almost 51% between 2015 and 2021. While many of these children will be able to successfully access education provision in mainstream schools, those with more severe needs will require a special school place.

Table 1 - Number of children resident in Peterborough who have an EHC Plan

Year* 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Number of children 1407 1391 1586 1707 1901 1930 2124

*Data taken for the SEN2 return to the Department for Education, submitted on approximately 31 January of each year.

Therefore, Peterborough City Council and Marshfields, working together, propose expanding the age range and capacity of the school, enabling it to offer additional special school places to those children who require one.

This consultation is looking at:

  • Lowering the age range of children who can attend the school to include 7 and 8 year olds, whereas currently it takes children between the ages of 9 and 19; and
  • and increasing the number of places from 175 to 191. This expansion will help Peterborough City Council meet the rising demand for places for children with EHC Plans.

The underpinning rationale for this proposed change is that:

  • The number of children in Peterborough with EHC Plans has risen steadily over the last seven years. The proposed change will provide a more appropriate match between the places available at special schools in the area and the demand.
  • Expanding Marshfields’ age range will enable children whose needs are identified at a young age to attend appropriate special provision.
  • Marshfields is already providing a high quality of teaching, based on their Ofsted rating.
  • Marshfields is a centre of SEND expertise in the City, providing advice and support for all schools with students who have Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD) on roll.

In December 2021, Marshfields’ Governing Body confirmed its support for the proposal to extend the age range of the school.

Objectives, including how the proposal would increase educational standards and parental choice

To support the Local Authority (LA) in ensuring that sufficient special school places are available across the city.

To ensure parents have a choice in where to educate their child, by providing additional places for Year 3 and Year 4 children in the local area.

The effect on other educational institutions within the local area

Pupils with learning difficulties, where right for the individual child, would still be educated in their local mainstream school.

The change will ensure more children who need to, can access a local special school place from an earlier age.

Project costs and indications of how these will be met

The proposal will involve splitting the current Design Technology room into two classrooms, along with some minor building re-conditioning works. This is expected to cost approximately £93,000, and will be jointly funded by the school and the LA.

Other considerations

Pupil transition: The expansion of the school’s age range will not impact on the pupils currently at the school. Admissions will continue to be made through Peterborough’s SEND panel process.

Staffing, HR and training: It is anticipated that the change in age range of the school will require at least one additional teacher for each of the newly created classes.

Training and development needs will form part of the school’s ongoing workforce development planning.

Implementation plan

As part of the LA’s decision making process a consultation on the proposed changes will run for a period of four weeks from 13 January to 10 February 2022, and will seek the views of all interested parties.

The LA will give careful consideration to all comments received during the consultation period before reaching a decision on whether or not to proceed with the change of age range. If the change is agreed, it is proposed that it would come into effect from September 2022.

Have your say

If you have any questions, would like more information or wish to make a comment on this proposal, please attend the consultation event (see details below) or email and include the words 'Marshfields Age Range Consultation' in the subject line.

Join Zoom Meeting on 25 January 2022 at 7pm:
Meeting ID: 996 3550 7158
Passcode: SMc9Dp