Councillors back £5m plan to expand school places for children with special needs and disabilities

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Councillors back £5m plan to expand school places for children with special needs and disabilities

Postby Community Editor » Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:10 pm

Wandsworth Councillors have approved a set of proposals to significantly expand provision across local schools for children with special education needs and/or with disabilities (SEND).

Last week the council’s education and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee approved schemes costing just under £5m to improve support for SEND children in Wandsworth.

The funding will pay for 119 additional places at local schools for children with a range of needs.

These include:
• The establishment of a new resource base at Swaffield primary school in Southfields for up to 16 children with autism (ASD) and/or social, emotional and mental health needs/anxiety (SEMH).
• The establishment of a new resource base at Putney’s Granard primary school for up to 42 children with autism associated with learning difficulty and/or SEMH needs.
• An increase in the authorised capacity of the Savio resource base at St John Bosco College in Battersea from 25 to 45 places in the age range from Year 11 to Year 13
• An increase in the authorised capacity of the Devereux resource base at St John Bosco College from 7 to 18 places
• An increase in the authorised capacity at Garratt Park Special School from 178 to 210 places;

Money will also be invested in improving classroom capacity at Paddock special school in Roehampton, as well as plans currently being drawn up for a 12 place resource base for pupils with SEMH needs at Burntwood Academy.

Wandsworth already has an extensive range of provision for children and young people with SEND.

Last year there were more than 530 pupils attending Wandsworth’s network of special schools and 246 SEND pupils at mainstream schools. Around £20m was spent supporting these children at school. Another £9m was used to fund SEND children who attend schools in the private and independent sector.

Over the past five years, the number of Wandsworth children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) has increased by 78 per cent. This figure is predicted to increase by a further 8.9 per cent over the next decade.

Some of the children currently attending private or independent special schools, or who are being taught at home, will benefit from this proposed expansion of provision. It will mean some spending less time travelling to out of borough placements, allowing them to spend more time with their peers and make friends in their neighbourhoods, while being able to attend and integrate into their local school and community.

The borough’s director of children’s services Ana Popovici said: “We want Wandsworth to be a place where children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities are everyone’s priority and feel like they belong in an inclusive local community.

”The scrutiny committee’s decision to support these proposals will now be considered by the council’s executive."

 
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