More funding for SEN places and facilities in Gloucestershire schools
At its next meeting (Wednesday 17 June) council’s cabinet will be asked approve an extra £300k investment for schools in the county, particularly to support more children with special educational needs.
The proposals include more pupil places at special schools in the county, and adjustments to mainstream schools to cater for more pupils including those with disabilities or additional needs. If agreed, the plans will mean a further £296,000 for schools, in addition to the £100 million the council are already investing in the county’s schools.
With an increasing need for specialist education in Gloucestershire, the council want to invest almost £3 million into expanding special schools so more children will be able to attend a school closer to where they live.
Cabinet will be asked to approve plans to extend facilities at Belmont Special School and Battledown Children and Families Centre in Cheltenham, Alderman Knight School in Tewkesbury, and Paternoster Special School in Cirencester, to take an extra 77 pupils over two years. This will reduce the need to send children to specialist schools out of the county or to an independent school.
Other changes to the already approved programme include more money for the expansions of The Cotswold School and Winchcombe Secondary School. Both schools have projects underway that will provide them with 150 extra places each. The extra £5 million will fund measures to cut carbon emissions at the schools, in line with the council’s pledge to become carbon neutral, as well as drainage issues, archaeological work and access improvements.
Some changes to the capital programme are also being made to take into account updated data that predicts future pupil numbers. These numbers are estimated by looking at a range of factors including the birth rate and new housing developments. The council uses this data to plan where they might need to expand or build new schools.
£5.5 million previously allocated for county primary places will be returned to the schools pot, as forecasting shows these primary places now won’t be needed until after 2024.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux, cabinet member responsible for education, commented: “We’re committed to making sure all children get the education they deserve, which is why we’re investing over £100 million into our county’s schools. There is strong support for increasing the special educational needs provision in the county and this cash injection will help us to do just that.”
You can find the full cabinet report here.