New school places for children with SEND proposed

A four-week consultation has begun over Richmond Council’s plans to create 56 extra places for pupils with special educational needs at schools across the borough.

New specialist resource provisions would be created in two schools, and eight existing provisions would be expanded.

If the plans go ahead, 56 full-time places will be created at mainstream nursery, primary and secondary schools over the next three years.

The number of local children diagnosed with having special educational needs and disabilities has been rising in recent years, partly due to earlier diagnoses of young people with conditions like Autism.

A review of the current provision was undertaken in Spring 2017 and one of its main findings was that more local places for children with SEND should be established so that families have more choice close to home and more children and young people can be educated within their home community.

Proposals would create additional places at Windham Nursery, Barnes Primary, East Sheen Primary, Hampton Hill Junior, Heathfield Infant and Heathfield Junior; and St James’s Catholic Primary, and at Grey Court, Orleans Park and Waldegrave secondary schools.

These proposals would supplement the opening of The Maaz special school, a free school run by the Auriga Academy Trust, in September 2019, and the expansions and re-provisions of the borough’s existing special schools, Clarendon and Strathmore, both also run by Auriga.

Further proposals are expected to be made in due course. Applications for at least one more special free school are expected to be made as and when opportunities arise.

Councillor Susan Chappell, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Schools, said:

“Richmond has a growing population and we know that there is a growing need for more specialist places in our schools.

“It is absolutely vital that our schools are equipped to meet pupils’ individual needs.

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