Public consultations are to be held for potential new learning resource centres for pupils with complex learning needs at two Pembrokeshire schools.

At a special extraordinary meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, held on November 10, members considered calls to launch a statutory consultation for a Learning Resource Centre (LRC) for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Complex Learning Needs at Neyland Community School, and a similar centre at St Davids’ Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi.

There are currently eight primary and three secondary LRCs across Pembrokeshire.

A report for members stated: “There are 160 places available across the county in the primary phase, with 155 currently occupied. Four of our primary phase LRCs are at full capacity, with four settings being oversubscribed.”

In the case of Neyland, it said: “There is an oversubscribed secondary phase LRC in Neyland at the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre, and within the Milford Haven/Mid Pembrokeshire area a notable increase in additional learning needs is being observed by professional teams in various educational settings of all ages.

“When mapping out the existing LRC provision for Pembrokeshire, Neyland is a clear choice for an additional primary LRC provision given not only the geographical locality but also the growing level of need within the combined communities that make up the Milford Haven School catchment area.”

In the case of Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, the LRC would have 12 primary places, situated on the ‘Non’ campus of the school, and 24 secondary places situated on the main ‘Dewi’ campus.

The report said: “Penrhyn Dewi is a suitable location for a new LRC, as its inclusive ethos and relatively small size make it well placed to host such a provision.

“There are surplus places in the primary phase of the school, and while the secondary phase is currently oversubscribed the projections are that that this will reduce in future years, and there is the potential to make some physical adjustments to the site that would allow the secondary element of the LRC to be accommodated without detriment to the rest of the school.”

The report said that, for Neyland, there would be an additional pressure in the Individual Schools Budget of £147,000 in 2024/25 and pressures of £253,000 in future years based on this proposal.

However, the proposal, depending on demand, could result in savings overall from ALN pupils receiving specialist provision in the LRC rather than non-LRC provision in mainstream school.

Similar pressures were identified for Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, with a budget pressure of £221,000 in 2024/25 and pressures of £379,000 in future years, again potentially offset by the same possible savings.

Members unanimously backed recommendations that the Director for Education be authorised to undertake statutory consultations on establishing Learning Resource Centres at both Neyland Community School and Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi.