Funding to create new school places and improve existing provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities is being made available to Staffordshire schools.

An additional £2.44 million has been made available by the Department for Education to support Staffordshire County Council’s five-year Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) strategy.

That strategy focuses on educating more children closer to home, providing more support for teaching in mainstream classrooms and funding the appointment of extra staff to process Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessments more quickly.

Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Education and SEND, said: “Parents have told us they want their children to learn and achieve while based in their own communities and we want all children with special educational needs and disabilities to be able to reach their potential by receiving the right support at the right time in their own communities, at their local school or place of education.

“This additional funding will let us back bids from ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ schools in Staffordshire to create additional places and also improve and adapt existing facilities.”

Staffordshire currently has more than 6,300 children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) and its maintained schools have lower than average levels of children and young people with support for SEND, at 10.3 per cent compared to 12.1 per cent nationally.

At the same time, 51 per cent of children and young people with an EHCP who are in an education placement attend specialist provision compared to 39 per cent nationally.

Jonathan Price added: “The money can also be used to work with other bodies to develop bases at mainstream schools to provide specialist support for pupils and staff, allowing children to integrate into the school community while studying at their own pace. The more places we have here, the less need there is for children to use independent schools outside Staffordshire.”

SEND support in the county is commissioned and delivered in partnership between the county council, schools and other education settings together with the Staffordshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

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