Location of new Solihull special school revealed by council - The Solihull Observer

Location of new Solihull special school revealed by council

Solihull Editorial 12th Dec, 2019 Updated: 12th Dec, 2019   0

SOLIHULL COUNCIL has revealed the location of a new special school, as it looks to keep special needs provision in the borough.

The Bosworth Campus in Smith’s Wood will have places for 100 children and young people with autism aged between seven and 16 years old.

As reported in the Solihull Observer in March, it is expected that it will be run as a ‘free school’ – but a trust to run the school has not yet been appointed.

The authority is also set to consult on plans which could see a boost in special educational needs provision.

Children’s services officers at the council are worried a predicted rise in the number of Solihull pupils with special needs will stretch demand, as the authority faces a budget crisis.

Funding for schooling children with special needs comes from the council’s ‘high needs block’, but sending children to school outside the borough costs double that of education at Solihull schools.

The council has said the situation is unaffordable, as its high needs block is stretched by a £3million overspend. It wants to end out-of-the-borough placements.

The budget overspend could have reached £5.6 million by the end of 2019, council projections show.

Now the council is looking for ways to provide more places for children with educational health care plans, which the council issues to families who need special needs provision.

Following consultations, new plans could expand special needs places at Reynalds Cross, Olton and Merstone School, Castle Bromwich.

The council also intends to provide more places for autistic children in secondary schools and more primary places in North Solihull.

Refusing to provide the number of trusts that had applied to run a special school, a Solihull Council spokesperson said: “We are currently assessing the proposals we have received with the Department for Education and as this is not yet complete we cannot give further details.

“However, the DfE have confirmed that the school will operate from the Bosworth Campus and are currently completing a feasibility study of the proposed site. It is expected that the trust to deliver the school will be appointed by the DfE in early 2020.”

Solihull has 1,444 pupils with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The council expects a further 52 places across all education levels would cost £1.2million.

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