Consultation on the use of Special Needs funding
Address: Consultation on the use of Special Needs funding, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Department for Education has allocated a capital grant to Portsmouth City Council of £537,600. The purpose of this grant is to support the creation of places and to improve provision and facilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. This capital investment must be used to adapt or create special school buildings within the city to meet the needs of pupils being referred to them.
There are an increasing number of pupils in the city with complex and complex plus special education needs.
Complex pupils are predominantly ambulant with a range of needs (Severe Learning Difficulties, Moderate Learning Difficulties, and Autistic Spectrum Disorder) with pupils taught together in groups of 8 to 12; there are often a few places for pupils with greater needs such as those associated with severe autism or Social and Emotional Mental Health who are taught in smaller groups with a higher staff to pupil ratio.
Complex plus pupils are generally non-ambulant requiring specialist equipment and facilities; for example, pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties Severe Learning Difficulties/autism are taught in groups of 8 to 10 pupils, with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties or severe autism being taught in groups of 4 to 6.
A significant increase in demand is forecast for pupils with complex plus needs who would require a place at a specialist education facility. There are also rising numbers of complex pupils. It is predicted that, by 2023, Portsmouth would have a shortage of at least 100 places.
There is already an urgent demand for complex plus places for September 2019 which cannot be met in the city without investing in a temporary solution.
It is proposed that the funding is used for two specific purposes:
- A SEND Accommodation Study is undertaken to develop an accommodation strategy for the next decade, with a view to the report supporting the business case for a new Portsmouth special school which will provide for complex and complex plus pupils.
- Creating temporary accommodation for complex plus pupils for September 2019. This would be achieved by refurbishing the ground floor of the old "Harbour Fratton" site as a temporary location until a new school is built
The Council is seeking the views of residents, especially parents of pupils with SEND, pupils with SEND, and school/academies.
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