Boarding scrapped

Proposed closure of The Felkirk Centre on High Well Hill Lane, South Hiendley.'h2243a025
Proposed closure of The Felkirk Centre on High Well Hill Lane, South Hiendley.'h2243a025

OVERNIGHT accommodation at South Hiendley’s Felkirk Centre has been scrapped by council chiefs.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet agreed to get rid of the residential unit at the school, on High Well Hill Lane, on Tuesday, after Ofsted reports found it did not provide ‘value for money’.

The centre caters for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties and provided children with individual bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen, dining room, games room and bathroom, but the overnight facility will close on March 31.

Following Ofsted’s report, the local authority carried out an audit and found low levels of occupancy combined with costs of running the facility, £1,700 per person per week, backed up the Government watchdog’s claim.

The centre was built to accommodate 29 pupils for four nights but in recent years only six have stayed on a single night.

It was initially decided at October’s cabinet meeting but had to give a six-week notice period for anyone to air their concerns, the end of which was November 25 and the council received no objections.

Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It is with regret that the Felkirk centre is to be closed.

“Ofsted and the audit inspection have found that the centre is not cost effective and we have to balance the low occupancy rate with the high running costs.

“We will continue to support those families who rely on the boarding provision to ensure that they receive the appropriate level of support.”

Closure of the boarding unit will not affect the school – which provides 48 day places for pupils with special educational needs.