Facility for pupils with learning needs to be re-vamped under leadership of GORSE Academies Trust

The special needs facility attached to John Smeaton Academy is set to undergo a radical overhaul in the way its is run following the school's takeover by the GORSE Trust.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 4:45 am

For 20 years the John Smeaton Academy has housed a resource provision for children with complex learning needs.

However, due to previous instability in the school and a raft of damning assessments by Ofsted, the resource provision has consequently lost the confidence of the wider community, including external professionals and parents.

But as of today, the first formal day of the school's takeover by GORSE, the provision will now be known as Horizons - a name chosen to reflect a place where students flourish and achieve their full potential.

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The provision at Richmond Hill primary's Rainbow Base provision which will work in partnership with the secondary school equivalent at John Smeaton Academy.

The GORSE Academies Trust says it is committed to "radically improving" this currently underachieving provision and is confident that the expertise and passion of the staff team will ensure that Horizons becomes a leading provider of specialist education for secondary aged pupils in Leeds.

Horizons will join the trust's already established primary resource provision, Rainbow Base, which is a 34 place provision for children with complex communication needs and/or autism at Richmond Hill Academy.

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A spokesperson said: "At The GORSE Academies Trust, we are incredibly excited to realise our vision for our 17 students who are currently on role at Horizons. We believe that through adapting our practice to align with the quote “if a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”, our students will become life-long learners and prepared for their next steps into adulthood."

The new approach at Horizons is one of many changes being brought about by the newly appointed senior education leaders at John Smeaton in an effort to gain the confidence of the communities in and around east Leeds, who for several years have opted to chose schools further afield.

Today the school launches a 60 Day campaign on its website and newly created social media channels where it will be posting items on school life and its vision for the future in the hope that more people will opt to make the school their preferred choice for school places before the deadline for 2022 applications.