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(UK) Berkshire: 2 "much-needed" special schools to be built after "damning report"

Nov 22, 2022, Berkshire Live: Two special needs schools could be built in Berkshire after damning Ofsted report

Funding is being sought due to a lack of facilities in the borough

SE England

Two much-needed schools for children with Special Educational Needs (SEND) could be built in a Berkshire borough. Funding has been sought after a damning Ofsted report.

Following an inspection earlier this year into SEND services at Bracknell Forest Council, the education watchdog insisted that a Written Statement of Action was required to address the “significant areas of weakness”

One of the problems highlighted was a lack of appropriate educational facilities for a significant number of children and young people in the borough.

To help address this, a bid has been submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) for a 2022 free special school capital fund to build two new facilities. One is outlined as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) special school for children from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5, which would provide places for 100 pupils.

The other a Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) special school to meet the needs of children from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4, creating 70 new placements in the process. DfE funding would cover all building costs, with each successful school also allocated £220,000 [$270,000] by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to help support set-up costs.

The council has proposed the utilisation of the current vacant site at the former All Saints primary school in Warfield as a potential location for one of the facilities. If funding is secured for both schools, the council will make annual savings of £1,590,000 [$1,590,000] in year one, £3,360,000[$4,051,000] in year two, and £5,100,000 [$6,140,000] in year three, according to figures released by the council.

Following the Ofsted report, a review of the council’s SEND provisions was carried out by the education, skills and growth overview and scrutiny panel was carried out – with the findings delivered last month. …


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