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(UK) Hundreds of SPED students not placed "due to lack of spaces"

June 9, 2023, Leicestershire Live: Hundreds of Leicester special needs pupils in wrong schools due to lack of spaces, council reveals

E. Midlands

Hundred of pupils with special needs in Leicester do not have the right placement for their needs. Leicester City Council has said there are more than 260 pupils in the city are incorrectly placed based on their Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

An EHCP is a legally-binding document which sets out a child’s additional needs and what the authority will do to support them. The incorrect placements are due to capacity issues, the council said in a report.

And the situation is expected to get worse over the coming years. The authority predicts there will be a shortfall of 148 spaces by 2027/28 if nothing is done which will result in children having to go to independently-run schools outside of the local area to get an education.

This will cost the authority up to £5.7 million [$7.3M] more than if the pupils were to attend council-run schools, according to the report. Leicester City Council has set out a number of options for meeting the deficit.

Expanding capacity in existing special schools

A number of local schools could have additional places created, providing room some 296 pupils between them. West Gate School could be extended by 32 pupils initially, with a second expansion of a further 80 places down the line.

Oaklands School is also being considered for an 80 place expansion, the report shows. This would need to be on a satellite site as the existing grounds do not have the capacity for an extension, the council has said.

Keyham Lodge Specialist School could be extended over two satellite sites in two separate phases. These would add 16 places each to the school’s capacity.

Nether Hall School has space on sites for an additional 32 places to be created, the report said. Ellesmere College could have 40 places added either on the same or a separate site. Building a new school

While the expansion of existing provision could generate a significant number of new places, creating a new school would ensure Leicester could continue to meet demand over the coming years, the council has said.

The authority applied unsuccessfully for funding in the 2022 round of the Government’s special free school bid. However, the council has said it may still need to consider opening a new school to manage future numbers.


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