Parklands School in the spotlight

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Published Date: 

4 Oct 2011 - 10:06

A report on the future of an Argyll and Bute school for children and young people with additional support needs will be discussed by councillors this week.


The council is asked to approve recommendations which not only secure the future of Parklands School in Helensburgh, but also make its facilities more widely available to others who might benefit from them from across the area.


Spokesperson for education and lifelong learning Councillor Ellen Morton, who represents the Helensburgh and Lomond area and has been involved in the school for many years, said what was being suggested was a ‘win-win’ situation for all concerned.


“I welcome the recommendations in this report, as I am sure everyone else associated with Parklands will do,” she said.


“The council has looked at all options for the school building and all potential ways of ensuring as many people as possible could benefit from its specialist facilities, and I am delighted with the suggested way forward.


“This report not only secures the future of the school building, but also the future of its current pupils whose parents and carers have been so supportive of Parklands in general and so keen for its provision to be maintained.”


Councillor Morton added that the fact that the recommendations suggest that Parklands’ facilities are made available to children and young people from across Argyll and Bute is potentially very good news not just for those individuals and their parents, but also for Argyll and Bute taxpayers.


“If these recommendations are agreed, we are likely to be placing fewer children and young people in costly provision outwith Argyll and Bute in the future,” she said.


“This is great news for these individuals and their families, for whom being close to home is often extremely important, and also for the public purse.


“For these reasons and many others, I very much hope that the council will support the recommendations and in doing so secure the future of Parklands School, its pupils and staff.”


Parklands currently operates as a stand-alone, all-through additional support needs (ASN) school. It is located next to the five-bed Ardlui House respite centre, which is run asa partnership between the council, the Sense Scotland charity and the Ardlui Respite Care Trust.


The present school roll is seven, with four in the secondary class and three in the primary class. Six of the current pupils spend part of their week in a mainstream class in their local school.


In addition to the pupils based at Parklands, a total of seven others access facilities and activities at the school every week. Parklands is also well used by community organisations, a number of whom have expressed an interest in expanding their use of facilities such as the hydrotherapy pool and sensory room.


The report, which will be discussed on Thursday, is the result of a comprehensive review of potential future options for Parklands which was carried out in May and June this year. A range of groups and individuals including parents and carers, Parklands staff and head teachers of other Helensburgh and Lomond schools were consulted as part of the process.


Its three main recommendations are:


  • Develop provision for pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). This would incorporate direct teaching of pupils, support for inclusion opportunities and outreach/consultancy work. Ardlui House could accommodate a number of pupils from other areas of Argyll and Bute on a Monday to Thursday residential basis.
  • Develop ‘nurture’ provision for the Helensburgh and Lomond area. This would be a mix of work carried out at Parklands and outreach work in local schools, and would focus on early intervention principles and developing social and communication skills as well as focussing on the health and wellbeing of identified children.
  • The continued use of the Parklands facilities to help and support the needs of learners within the Helensburgh and Lomond area. Pupils in mainstream placements would continue to visit Parklands to take part in activities and use specialist facilities.


A full copy of the report can be viewed at$