The county council says it is delighted that the Department of Education (DfE) has approved its application for a 90-place school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), in Quorn.
Set against the backdrop of increasing demand in the county for SEND school places, the county council has been successful in its bid for funding from the DfE’s Special Free School programme.
The school is set to be built on county council-owned land off Farley Way, Quorn, close to the A6, and will serve both the local community as well as the neighbouring Melton and north-west Leicestershire areas.
In line with the Government announcement of a wider package of support earlier this week, the council sees the development of the Quorn facility as an ‘inclusion hub’ to support children and young people to access mainstream education.
When opened, the school will have pupils from Key Stages 2-4 on its roll and will specialise in helping to meet the communication and interaction needs of children. It is also planned that the school will support pupils into post-16 progression.
Councillor Deborah Taylor, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this news. It is vital that we take advantage of any opportunities we have for government funding to increase the SEND offer in the county.
“The pressures we face in Leicestershire are mirrored across the country and our teams are working incredibly hard to support children and young people with SEND.”
Mrs Taylor has also welcomed the wider Government announcement of increased investment in SEND by more than 50 per cent compared with 2019-20 - to over £10 billion by 2023-24.
Over the same time period, Leicestershire has experienced a 54 per cent increase in children and young people requiring an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).
This is well above the national average of a 38 per cent increase and it is anticipated that there will be a further increase by 2026 in demand for SEND school places for children who require support for communication and interaction.
The council is currently reviewing its strategy for SEND and inclusion in the wake of the rising demand.
The council has also outlined that plans for the school will need to be approved through the local district council’s planning process before any work can begin, along with the selection of an academy trust to run the school.