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(UK) Dorset: 80 extra seats at special school, $50M more for SPED; positive feedback

Sept 30, 2021, Dorset Council: Have your say on proposals to expand special school in eastern Dorset https://news.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/2021/09/30/have-your-say-on-proposals-to-expand-special-school-in-eastern-dorset/

SW England Dorset residents are being asked to give their comments on plans to enable 80 extra places at Beaucroft Foundation School. This will increase provision for Dorset children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). The proposed expansion of the school through the repurposing of the former Wimborne First School site will result in the additional places from September 2022, with a focus on those in post-16 education. Although there are no survey questions, anyone interested can submit their comments by midnight on 20 October 2021, by post to: Ed Denham School Organisation Dorset Council County Hall Dorchester DT1 1XJ Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: “The expansion of Beaucroft School is a great opportunity to expand one of Dorset’s existing special schools, enabling more of Dorset’s children to receive their education closer to home. “Increasing specialist provision will also help reduce the council’s need for costly independent placements and avoid the significant travel some students currently have to undertake.” The plans fall under a wider ranging bold and ambitious £37.5m [$50M] plan to provide the best education for Dorset’s children with SEND. This funding has been secured for the next five years to help deliver projects across Dorset localities that will ensure the best education for all, through the creation of new special schools with fantastic facilities, and the expansion of high quality provision at Dorset’s existing excellent special schools. The project has the full support of Beaucroft School. See more about the consultation, including the proposals, at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/consultation After the formal consultation period, a report will be presented to Dorset Council’s Cabinet for a final decision on the proposal to increase the capacity of the school. As the former Wimborne First School site already benefits from planning approval as an educational institution, planning permission for any change of use or refurbishment of the buildings will not be required. Any works to be undertaken externally would be undertaken within permitted development rights. Noting comments expressed by local residents and council highway officers over safety and traffic movements, the council is investigating using a local public car park, close to the site. This would enable minibuses to drop off and collect from the car park, with students walking to and from the site via two safe walking routes. There will be parking for staff in the existing school car park off School Lane. A small area on the existing school site will be available for overspill parking for visiting professional specialists. The existing vehicle access point will be available for occasional visiting minibuses. COMMENTS: 1. JOHN CHAPMAN October 1, 2021 This seems to be an excellent proposal and should be encouraged. I have no professional expertise, but as the father of a SENCO (not in Dorset), I understand this sort of provision is needed throughout the country. Well done Dorset Council. 2. R Dunford October 1, 2021 I think this is an excellent idea. This would be an ideal use of the former Wimborne First School site and would provide perfect facilities for Beaucroft Special school and it’s students. Let’s hope this plan can be put into place as soon as possible. 3. Mike Chaney October 1, 2021 I heartily support the proposal to extend the work and the capacity of this much needed school. I have a son-in-law ad a daughter-in-law who have contributed to the important work done by these schools, one in Kent and the other in Shropshire. The commitment of the staff of these schools is exemplary and, sadly, the need for more facilities for them to continue their valuable work is yawningly large. 4. Mr Howard Bowsher October 1, 2021 Please, please get this up and running ASAP. Although I only have little personal experience in this area of education I do know that we must help the next generation in every way we can. For their sake and our own. 5. David Saint October 1, 2021 I think this is an admirable use of the old Wimborne First School, especially when these places are so badly needed. Beaucroft school does a magnificent job with these special needs children and young adults.


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