Council to invest 28.5 million on special schools

29% rise in special needs children over last four years


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Councillors have agreed plans to create 275 new school places for children with special educational needs (SEN).

The plans, agreed at this month’s cabinet meeting, will see Marjory Kinnon School and Oaklands School expand to meet the increasing demand for places.

In January this year, 1,382 children and young people had a statement of SEN, a rise of 29 per cent from 2010.

The council is already working on an expansion programme which will see 70 new places creates at Lindon Bennett and Cedars special schools, and establish seven new SEN centres in mainstream schools, by 2015.

Despite this, demand continues to grow, and the council are increasingly needing to make use of inconvenient and expensive out of borough placements.

Current projections suggest that by 2020, there will be the need for a further 254 primary and secondary special school places for children with autistic spectrum disorder or moderate learning difficulties.

Cllr Tom Bruce, cabinet member for education and children’s services at the council, said:

“Currently, too many parents are having to send their children to schools outside the borough, which is both difficult for the families, and expensive.

“We’ve already done a lot of work to provide extra SEN places, but with a growing population, we are going to need to do even more over the coming years.

“We are determined to make sure every child in the borough receives the best education possible, which is why I am pleased these plans have been agreed."

The plans could see the existing Marjory Kinnon School demolished, with teaching moved to a new purpose built primary and secondary SEN school on the site.

The Oaklands School site in Bridge Road, Isleworth, could be converted to a new SEN primary school, and a new secondary, post-16 and young adult education facility being built in Gresham Road, Isleworth.

Following agreement by councillors, consultations on expansion proposals for the two schools will take place. The results of this will be reported back to cabinet before any planning applications are made. If agreed, the additional places will be available at Marjory Kinnon School from September 2017, and Oaklands School from September 2018.

October 29, 2014

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