A CHARITY supporting families and children is in discussions with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to take over a building and turn it a special school.
At a meeting of the council’s Community Services scrutiny committee on Monday, November 15, Cllr John Morgan asked for confirmation that discussion of a Community Asset Transfer(CAT) has been taking place with Catch 22.
Blaenau Gwent’s estates and valuation team leader, Louise Horner said: “Yes we are, they are looking to go to either Rassau Resources Centre or Newtown.”
Cllr Morgan said: “What concerns me is that Catch-22 are looking for property for a pupil referral unit (PRU).
“If that’s the case the education department and scrutiny committee should be involved as we are an open and transparent council.
“We already have two PRU’s one in Ebbw Vale and one in Tredegar for secondary and primary (pupils).
“People are going to be asking questions before too long, councillors need to know what’s going on.”
Ms Horner added: “No decision have been made yet; they are looking at two properties.
“They have submitted a business plan; we’ll get more information.”
She added that the education department was “aware” of the situation.
The issue will return to a future meeting of the committee for an update.
Following the meeting ,Catch22 told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that their proposal would not be for a PRU but an Independent Special School for pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).
Education chief executive officer at Catch22, Jane Reed said: “Catch22 already has an independent special school registered in Newport.
“Due to the need for specialist education in the area, Catch22 has been approached to look in to opening a second site.
“Rassau Centre is one potential option, but still requires usual processes such as a material change application and planning application where appropriate.
“The second site, wherever it may be, would allow us to continue to give our pupils renewed confidence in their ability to learn, and set them up for a fulfilling school experience.”
Catch-22 can trace their history back over 230 years to The Philanthropic Society which later became The Royal Philanthropic Society.
They began working to help children after seeing homeless children begging and stealing on the streets.
They did this by opening homes where children who needed help were trained by skilled tradesmen.