Southampton Requires Special School Spaces Urgently

Special education classrooms are reported as “urgently needed” in SOUTHAMPTON.

Temporary solutions put in place since the city’s six special schools reached capacity in 2020 will not meet the anticipated rise in demand.

The 70 spots spread over two Great Oak sites are temporary solutions that have been in place.

Southampton Needs 278 New Places.

Over the past ten years, the number of children with an education, health, and care plan (EHCP), many of whom need special schooling, has increased by 12% annually; by 2030, it is anticipated that this number will have doubled.

The majority of newborns who are born with disabilities survive, leading to the requirement for special educational needs four years later, according to a report created by Southampton City Council.

According to a different report authored by speech and language pathologist Phillipa Cook and National Association of Principal Educational Psychologists chair Liz Robinson, action is needed right away.

It said: “The numbers and complexity of children and young people with SEND (special education needs and disabilities) are increasing with the potential for a significant cost increase.”

Southampton Requires Special School Spaces Urgently

“The areas of need that warrant particular attention are children and young people with more complex needs; autism especially where there is challenging behavior and social, emotional and mental health difficulties.”

“Action is required now to manage demand to ensure that future needs can be met that is financially sustainable.”

For the city council, that “activity” means the difference between needing to spend more than £23 million a year on postings outside of the city and spending just over £6 million on positions inside the city.

To expand the schools in Southampton, the council would also need to spend £32 million, which would cost an additional £2.5 million a year to repay the debt. This would increase the cost of teaching the city’s 278 children.

The council’s high needs block grant has currently overspent by £11 million, and if “substantial mitigating activity is not put in place,” it is expected to increase to £74 million by 2027.

What Is The Council Planning To Do?

Great Oaks Green Lane will get 102 new spots, Great Oaks Vermont will bring 150 new spaces, and St Monica Primary will get 26 new places.

This component of the £2.5 million yearly SEND initiative is expected to cost roughly £660,000 in personnel restructuring and consultation fees.

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In May, there will be a consultation on the changes at the three institutions (2023).

The council could also “request greater capital funds.” as another possibility. Using this technique, it is possible to add 338 more spaces, which will take care of the issue until 2029.

Yet, capital funding comes from the central government and has to be paid back – not something the council admits it should be doing in a period of ‘financial turmoil.’

The council cabinet will convene on Tuesday to approve the program’s next phase.


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