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£16m for SEND school places in Nottinghamshire

Award from Department for Education supports county council’s aim to create 490 additional SEND school and alternative provision places by September 2026. 

There’s a growing demand for specialist school places across the country, at a time when many local authorities are already facing significant financial pressures. Nottinghamshire County Council set out ambitious plans to meet demand in a five-year strategy published in 2021, which identified a need for between 285 and 490 new places by September 2026. The new funding will help the council to meet that target. 

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Photo by Mike Fox

The government already provides the council with High Needs Provision Capital allocations (HNPCA) with the specific aim to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision. The additional £16m provided by the Department for Education will mean the council can deliver new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings. The council and education partners will follow priorities set out in the five-year strategy to determine exactly how the new funding will be spent. 

In part, the award of new money recognises the progress that the council has already made in this area. Between 2021 and 2023, an additional 97 specialist educational places were provided through investment of more than £5m. The council also contributed to the rebuilding of Yeoman Park Academy in Mansfield as a single building to cater for up to 138 pupils who have learning difficulties and disabilities, increasing existing provision by 28 places. The new building will boast high-quality teaching spaces, a hydrotherapy pool, hall, multi-use games area and sensory gardens. There is also potential for the wider community to make use of some of these facilities.

What’s more, planning has been approved for a new special school in Mansfield that will provide up to 160 additional places, bringing the total of new places already agreed to 385. 

Cllr Sam Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) at Nottinghamshire County Council, says: ‘I am delighted with this news. Every child deserves access to quality education and support services, and we are committed to making sure that every child in Nottinghamshire can reach their full potential. It is vital that children with additional needs get the support they need, including more specialist places near to where they live. This government investment will directly support the council in delivering more special school places and an education that meets the needs of all children with SEND.’ 

In related news:

Haringey wins highest rating for SEND

Children’s Homes Association now excludes tax havens 

Sure Start kids do better at GCSE, says new IFS report 

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