The county council says there is strong public support for its proposals to invest up to £30m in developing new provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Leicestershire.
Around 350 people responded to a consultation and Cabinet members will hear next week that the plans to create up to 15 new SEND units or ‘enhanced resource bases’ in mainstream schools drew 88 per cent support from respondents.
“It’s really pleasing news that there is strong support, generally, for the proposals and that people share our ambition to create more SEND places. We received some really helpful comments about how the new provision should look, feel and operate. That means ensuring the provision is an integral part of a mainstream school, it's safe and caring, there's an emphasis on specialist, highly-skilled staff and we join up with relevant agencies to deliver the right outcome for studentsPerson:Ivan Ould, cabinet member for children and families
At its meeting on 24th May, Cabinet members will be asked to note the findings of the consultation, which ran for three months, as well as being updated that work is progressing on the creation of a new 80-place communication and interaction school on the site of the former Newlands Primary School in Barwell.
The council has invited expressions of interest from local academy trusts to operate the new school and four were received – two currently operating in Leicestershire and two in neighbouring counties.
Subject to Cabinet approval, a shortlist of Academy Trusts will then be recommended to the Regional School Commissioner for a final say. Once approval of the successful trust is confirmed, work would start with a September 2020 target date for opening.
Earlier this month, the Department for Education announced it would fund the building of a further 50-place special free school for pupils with Social Emotional and Mental Health needs on the Iveshead campus in Shepshed. The application process to run the school is now underway.
The council is also proposing to expand five of its six special schools, which includes creating a new block for post-16 Maplewell School pupils on the Charnwood College campus in Loughborough.
Parents in the process of securing a specialist placement for their child, subject to an education, care and health plan (EHCP) being in place, may wish to consider the new SEND resource bases proposed.
They are encouraged to contact their local SEN officer or the wider team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0116 305 6600.
Cabinet members will discuss the consultation findings when it meets on Friday. May 24th at 11am, the meeting will be shown live at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/webcast