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England's Ed Minister: "78 new special schools planned across country"

Feb 2, 2024, Shropshire Star: Special needs pupils travelling too far to school, says Shropshire MP 

A Shropshire MP has voiced concerns about the distances that pupils with special needs have to travel to get to school.

W. Midlands

Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, told the House of Commons he was concerned that some pupils were having to travel out of the county to get to school.

He asked education minister David Johnston what factors the Department for Education looked at when determining the provision for specialist schools.

"What assessment does the department make when looking at the distance that some of these children need to travel to get this specialist support, particularly when it is out of county—for example, Shropshire into Staffordshire?" he asked.

"It may not seem a long distance, but on some of those meandering, serpentine roads it can take a very long time to travel 20 miles."

Mr Johnston agreed that out-of-county placements were not ideal for either children or their families, and said the transport costs were also a problem for the local authority.

He said the 78 new special schools were planned across the country.

"We are also committed to seeing the children whose needs can be met in a mainstream school being supported at an early enough stage with their special educational needs," he said.

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