Multi-million pound boost for specialist school provision
Published: 6 July 2022
A major investment to provide more specialist school places will benefit children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Derby.
Cabinet will be asked to approve proposals on how to spend more than £8million from the Government SEND Capital grant on re-modelling two schools to create an extra 48 places in the city.
The proposals, which have been developed following in-depth consultation with the sector, aim to help pupils into education settings appropriate for their needs, and reduce placements out of the area.
Derby City Council consulted with parent representatives, partners and headteachers to co-produce a series of proposals which will help to improve both mainstream and specialist provision for children and young people with SEND. These included long and detailed conversations with the people the investment will impact and their families. Over 75% of responses were positive to proposals.
The programme is designed to help deliver the Council’s vision, set out in its SEND Strategy, for every child and young person with special educational needs and disabilities in Derby to live their best life.
The plans have been developed in response to the growing need for more special educational provision. In Derby, the number of children with new Education Health and Care (EHC) plans has increased by 41.7% when compared against the number of children with EHC plans made during 2020.
Currently some children and young people with SEND must travel a great distance for educational provision, sometimes outside of the county, because there's not enough specialist provision available in the city.
These pressures are not unique to Derby. Nationally, there is an increase in both demand and out of area placements.
If plans are approved, Kingsmead Special School will be remodelled for alternative provision for children and young people with Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs with additional 45 places (35 within this financial year). Figures show a clear growth in children and young people with SEMH needs.
The proposed phased approach to remodel and create additional places within existing schools means that children could be in new places from the autumn of 2022.
Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is the largest SEN primary need in Derby with 1469 pupils, an increase from 1075 in 2020 and currently Derby has no provision for children with ASD and complex health needs. Plans to transform a therapy room and outdoor space into an extra classroom at Ivy House Special School will create an extra 13 places.
Councillor Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Skills at Derby City Council, said:
We are committed to developing high-quality services and provision that make a real impact on the lives and lived experience of the children, young people and families of Derby.
By working in partnership and using accurate data, we can make sure we are delivering the right services in the right area and for the right reasons.
Further Cabinet reports outlining the next phases of the SEND capital programme are expected, which will include proposals for enhance resource units, Inclusion Hubs across the city and the expansion and remodelling of St Clare’s special school to open in 2023.