Education bosses will invest £280m to provide more specialist places and improve provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or requiring alternative provision in England
The Department for Education (DfE) said councils will receive the funding to create new places in schools, academies, colleges and early years settings.
The funding will improve existing provision to create modern, fit-for-purpose spaces suited to a wider range of pupil needs.
This could be by contributing to the cost of creating a whole new special school, or by improving accessibility, such as installing ramps, handrails or ceiling hoists.
Minister for the school system Baroness Berridge said: ‘It is so important that all children and young people, whatever their background, are able to attend a good school that helps them thrive and gives them the building blocks they need to go on to fulfil their potential.
‘For pupils with more complex needs or disabilities, it is especially important that the right facilities and support are in place at whatever school they attend, so they can learn in a modern, adaptable environment.
‘This funding will help councils provide targeted support to level up outcomes for some of their most vulnerable pupils.’
The funding is for the financial year 2021-22, to support the provision of high needs places needed by September 2022. Up to an additional £20 million will be used to support High Needs capital projects in a small number of the local authorities facing the highest Dedicated Schools Grant deficits.
Professor Adam Boddison, chief executive of NASEN, said: ‘Given the growing demand for high-quality specialist provision, this increase in high needs funding is a welcome investment.
‘I hope that Local Authorities will work in partnership with schools, specialist settings and families so that this funding is targeted to secure long term benefits for learners with SEND.’
Graham Olway national chairman of the Education Building Development Officers Group, said: ‘We welcome this announcement of extra High Needs funding to help support the work of local authorities in meeting the needs of children with a range of needs in schools.
‘The funding allows more opportunities and projects to be fulfilled in an area of growing need for local authorities.’
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