Unit for wayward children branded a disgrace to close

Springboard Centre, Beckett Road.
Springboard Centre, Beckett Road.

A SCHOOL for pupils excluded from mainstream education will close after Doncaster’s mayor branded the current system “a disgrace”.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet has approved plans to close the Springboard Centre with plans being drawn up to send children with behavioural problems back into mainstream schools.

The pupil referral unit based in Beckett Road, Wheatley, and Shadyside, Hexthorpe, was slated by government Ofsted inspectors.

Mayor Peter Davies’ cabinet backed the change, which will see pupils in more mainstream settings with personalised learning arrangements to give a mixture of formal education and work-based learning designed to teach practical skills.

The unit currently has 76 pupils on its roll.

Mr Davies said Doncaster’s record on teaching pupils with behavioural problems was “a disgrace”.

He said putting expelled pupils together had a negative effect on their behaviour.

He said: “We need a totally different approach to this particular problem. We need urgently to improve the education for the students at Springboard.

“We want a more inclusive approach. We believe a better alternative is meeting needs in mainstream education settings, with support, and a mixture of academic and work based units with providers like Bentley Training Centre.

“It seems to me that educational establishments have never accepted different children have different needs and don’t want to go through some comprehensive factory that provides the same for everyone.”

Ofsted said the centre, which caters for 14 to 16-year-olds, was inadequate in all areas apart from the care of students and their safety.