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(UK) Isle of Wight: New special school proposed; SPED numbers "expected to grow"

Oct 20, 2022, On the Wight: Multimillion-pound bid submitted for proposed new special school

Up to 75 pupils with additional needs could benefit from a proposed new special school on the Island.

The Isle of Wight council has today (Thursday) submitted a multimillion-pound bid in partnership with Hampshire County Council to the Department for Education for a new free school on land next to Carisbrooke College in Newport.

Specialist support and education

The school would offer specialist support and education for pupils aged between four and 16 with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) such as autism or social emotional and mental health conditions. If the funding is granted, the new school would significantly increase the availability of much-needed specialist provision places on the Island.

Andre: Travelling significant distances only adds to the stress Cllr Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children’s service, education and lifelong skills, said,… “At present, some children and young people from the Island have to travel significant distances to access their special schools. This only adds to the stress both for them and their parents and means that they don’t always arrive at school ready for learning….

The Island has the fifth highest number of pupils with Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) across England at 1,450. And it is a figure that is expected to grow by 2027.
The Island only has two maintained special schools and both are now full.

This means increasingly the council is having to place pupils in more expensive independent placements both here and on the mainland….

The Department for Education (DfE) has set aside £2.6bn [$2.9B] of capital investment to deliver up to 60 new specialist free schools across the UK before the next government spending review (the date for which has not been confirmed).

A free school functions like an academy, insofar as they are funded directly by the DfE rather than through the local authority.

The government is expected to make an announcement on the successful bids by the end of the year to early 2023.


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