£50 million to be invested in Lincolnshire SEND schools

Lincolnshire County Council is to invest millions in transforming special schools.

Changes have already started which include improving facilities, new classrooms and specialist areas across schools.

There will be an increase of over 500 special school places throughout Lincolnshire to meet the demands.

Executive councillor for children’s services, Patricia Bradwell, said, “All children have the right to high-quality education as near to home as possible.”

There are more than 4,600 children and young people have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) within the county.

Lincolnshire County Council has been working with special school leaders and the Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum to ensure that the requirements are met for SEND students.

Cllr Bradwell said, “We’re committed to working with schools, parents and families to achieve this.”

Capital investments will go towards 13 schools for remodelling and refurbishments to existing buildings.

For schools that are being physically expanded or remodelled, work will be completed from 2020 to 2022.

Assistant Director of Children’s Services, Heather Sandy, said, “We are tackling a national issue throughout the quadrants of Lincolnshire and building it into communities.”

Head teacher of The Willoughby School, James Husbands, said, “It will help us create classrooms for design, science and food technology, along with a new dining area. It will also enable us to cater for up to 150 young people from the local area, and meet a wider range of needs.”

Only 30 per cent of pupils that attend special schools currently go to the one in their local area, and more than 80 children are supported outside of Lincolnshire.

New investments allow students to attend schools closer to home which mean they can avoid travelling long distances.

Claire, mother of a SEND student, said, “Traditionally, Luke would have had to attend a school over 20 miles away, meaning an hour’s journey each way. It’s wonderful that Willoughby can meet his needs within the local community. As a result, Luke can go to the afterschool club and extracurricular activities, and has a network of school friends in the area.”

Over 40 per cent of SEND students attend mainstream schools, which are also to receive investment to improve student support.

Schools will introduce training to enhance the SEND skills and knowledge of all staff members.

Lincolnshire Young Voices formed by  a group of young people provide a voice for those with SEND.

The Young Voices group aims to inspire young people by working with colleagues across education, health care, youth justice, Lincolnshire safeguarding Children board and businesses.