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(UK) Beds: 141 new special needs places, 501 more planned; STILL NOT ENOUGH

Sept 4, 2023, BBC News: Bedfordshire mum criticises lack of school place for daughter

A mother said she felt her daughter, who had not secured a school place this September, was being "penalised for having a learning disability".

Central Bedfordshire Council said there were nine children waiting for a special educational needs and disabilities (Send) placement.

Emma Day said she was told it could take years to find her Maisie a school.

The council added it could not comment on individual cases, but a decision on a school place was due in November.

Ms Day said she wanted teenager Maisie to have a "normal school life that every child is entitled to".

"Because she has this learning disability, her life has been made harder and she's been penalised for having a learning disability," she said….

Purpose-built facilities, like one at Sandy Secondary School, will help the council provide more places for pupils with additional needs

The council said of the 3,321 children with an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP) in Central Bedfordshire, nine were waiting for a school place at the start of September.

Hayley Whitaker, lead member for children's services and deputy leader of the council, said the authority was working on a "huge building programme" to accommodate people like Maisie.

She said the council had created 141 new Send places in the last two years and planned to have 501 more by September 2026.

"All children will have some provision, whether that's additional support in mainstream school or support at home, to make sure they're getting an education," she added.


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