Extra funding agreed by Cabinet to fund new SEND places

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Funding for second phase of £45 million five year project agreed by Cabinet.

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet has today agreed an additional £15.9million to complete the funding for the creation of at least 879 specialist places for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

This money marks the second phase of a £45million five-year project to deliver specialist provision for SEND students in Suffolk. These places include units attached to mainstream schools and three new special schools.

So far, 500 new places have opened across the county, with another 325 due to open between September 2022 and September 2024 under phase 1. The additional money will enable the completion of phase 2 of the project, and the creation of between 54 to 72 new places, depending on design and planning.

The new SEND places support the growing number of children and young people in Suffolk who need specialist help at school. Between September 2021 and May 2022 there have been 1,333 referrals for specialist placements for children currently in mainstream schools.

Rachel Hood, Cabinet member for education, SEND and skills at Suffolk County Council, said:

“I have had the privilege of visiting some of these new units and seeing first-hand the significant difference they make to children and young people and their families. It is vital that we continue to increase not only the numbers of places we offer, but also the mix of help and support we offer so we can continue to meet the varied need of lots of young people. This significant investment shows our ongoing commitment to improving our SEND provision and making sure all children and young people in Suffolk have the best education to suit their needs.”

Plans for new SEND places under phase 3 will come before Cabinet from September. The newly-approved £15.9million includes £6million to complete phase 2, £4.6million to cover overspend and a grant from the Department for Education of £5.3million.

The special schools include Castle EAST, a new communication and interaction school in north Suffolk; a new social, emotional and mental health school in west Suffolk named Sir Peter Hall; and a communication and interaction school in south Suffolk, Woodbridge Road Academy.