SEND capital funding from the Department for Education
In March 2017, the Department for Education allocated additional capital funding to support initiatives to develop additional and innovative provision for children with Education, Health and Care Plans. The allocation set aside for North Somerset Council is £780,484 over the period 2018-2020. This funding is not expected to meet all of the growing need in North Somerset, but can be used to undertake specific projects which increase capacity, develop facilities or improve accessibility for children with EHC plans. In particular, it can be used to facilitate their access to local provision considered 'good' or 'outstanding' by OfSTED.
During the 2017/18 academic year we completed a comprehensive review of the Specialist and Alternative Educational Provision available in North Somerset. This included planning for the number of special school places we will likely need in the next 10 years. We worked closely with schools to inform this review and our discussions highlighted some opportunities where we could use this funding to create some new forms of provision. These new facilities will help to meet local need, and they will also allow us to look at how new types of provision could be used more widely across North Somerset schools to meet the growing level of need we expect in the future.
More local provision means more children will receive education in the home area, as part of their local community. This is one of the key principles we identified in our review.
Councillors have now approved our outline plan for three potential schemes using this funding allocation, and the decision and plans can be found here. These plans will now be subject to careful costing and feasibility work, and we will then consult more widely with children and young people, parents, schools and our partner organisations to ensure that the facilities we deliver reflect what is really needed locally.
Update - May 2018