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(UK) Doncaster: $14M/yr to transport more than 300 SPED students

Nov 11, 2022, BBC News: Doncaster Council paying £12m [$14M] on transport for SEND pupils

N. England

Hundreds of children in Doncaster with special educational needs are being forced to travel to schools outside the city due to a shortage of local places.
The council will spend almost £12m this year to send more than 300 young people to be educated in other areas.
It comes after Doncaster's specialist schools have been unable to cope with a "significant rise" in pupils with, according to a council report.

Demand for places rose 18.4 from 6,264 in 2017 to 7,418 this year.

The number of young people with special education needs or disabilities (SEND) is expected to climb further to 8,500 by 2027.

The Covid pandemic has "increased the level of need for those with young people with social and emotional needs," according to the report, which also highlighted growing waiting times for assessment during rising demand.

"As there is limited provision within the borough, an increasing number of those young people have been found places within out of authority provision," it added.

A total of 135 children under 16 in Doncaster with special educational needs, in many cases autism, have been in placed in specialist schools outside of the city.

A further 169 young people in post-16 education have to travel away from the area for education, with most having social, emotional or mental health needs.

Stephen Kingdom, campaign manager at the Disabled Children's Partnership, called the rise in young people having to travel far to school "very concerning"….

The authority has drawn up a new SEND strategy aimed at increasing the number of children who can be educated in local specialist and mainstream schools.

The plans include using part of £7m [$8.2M] additional government funding to create 30 more places from summer 2023.

The strategy is set to be signed off by the council's cabinet on Wednesday.


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