Derby City Council is to consider a range of proposals to transform its provision to pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The overall aim of the plan is to ensure that more children and young people will be offered places in local schools, near to the family home and their local community, wherever possible and that more schools are able to integrate children with special needs into their numbers.

Following careful consideration and initial consultation with parent representatives, SEND partners and headteachers, proposals were developed to improve Derby’s specialist provision and to help support parents, carers and families. Over the early part of 2018, the Council ran a wider consultation on those proposals and now the Cabinet will meet to discuss the findings and take decisions on the way forward.

The proposals cover a range of areas but the overall level of funding is not affected and pupils already on roll at special schools or enhanced resource schools. Enhanced resource schools are mainstream schools with extra teaching spaces and specialist resources to support children and young people with SEND.  The key amongst the planned changes is to update the criteria used for making placements in these schools and to ensure that the placement process is transparent for parents. We hope this change will allow more pupils to go to local schools with appropriate levels of support.

This will be combined with yearly reviews of the number of places at each of our enhanced resources schools, ensuring the capacity is matched closer with demand and the level of funding set accordingly.

As part of this change it has been proposed that Brackensdale Enhanced Resource School is set at a level of 28 pupils with communication and interaction needs. No pupils currently going through Brackensdale will be affected with the change phased in from September 2019 with transitional funding in place until March 2021. We are also looking at developing 14 primary places at Bemrose School again for pupils with communication and interaction needs. Bemrose secondary school already offers places for pupils with similar needs.

Another key development will be the establishing of clearer pupil pathways between primary and secondary enhanced resource schools so that pupils know which secondary school they are likely to go to. This is to help ensure that the transition from primary to secondary education is as smooth as possible.

The proposals have also looked at the provision at nursery level and a decision has been taken to reallocate the funding here into a single Early Years Inclusion Fund. Funding has previously been allocated directly to two enhanced resources nurseries but now a wider number of nurseries will be able to apply for funding on a needs basis.

Finally there are two proposals in early stages of development. One is to identify options for schools that could provide places for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs. The second is to begin to assess increasing and improving school accommodation at Bemrose School and St. Clare’s School, with a view to making an estimated 7.2million investment across the two sites.

Information on the proposals is also available on the Council’s Local Offer website: SEND Local Offer Website – Education