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(UK) Dorset: 80 more special school places proposed; 'continued growth in demand'

Sept 25, 2021, Bournemouth Daily Echo: Increase in capacity at Beaucroft Special School could happen next year

SW England THE increase in places at a Dorset special school could come into place in September next year. Dorset Council confirmed in a public notice that it is initiating a consultation on the increase of capacity of Beaucroft Special School by 80 places which could be in place by September 2022. The public notice said: “By virtue of schedule three of the School Organisation Regulations 2013, the governors and Dorset Council are required to consult on changes to provision at maintained schools including an increase in the capacity of a community special school by over ten per cent or 20 places, whichever is the smaller. “A consultation is now being initiated with the publication of this notice proposing the following changes: to increase capacity of Beaucroft Special School by 80 places, the increase in capacity to come into effect on September 1, 2022.” As reported, If the plans are approved, up to 80 places for Dorset children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will be created, with a particular focus on those in post-16 education which will help reduce the council's need for independent placements. Independent provision costs roughly £60,000 [$82K] a year per child, compared to around £22,000 [$30K] at one of Dorset's own special schools. It is proposed that in some cases education could be better provided with an increase in local provision that allows young people to be better educated closer to home and in their local communities. Councillor Andrew Parry, Dorset Council portfolio holder for children, education and early help, said: "The proposed expansion of Beaucroft school will go towards improving the lives of Dorset's children and young people with SEND by enabling more of our children to be educated locally in their communities. "At present, some children and young people must travel for educational provision, sometimes far from home, because with continued growth in demand there currently is not enough provision in Dorset to meet their needs. "I believe the plans outlined are a great opportunity to expand on one of Dorset's existing special schools so that more of our children can receive their education closer to home."


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