top of page

(UK) Lichfield: Council expands "overnights" for special needs students

Jan 18, 2024, Lichfield Live: County council cabinet backs plan to extend overnight accommodation service at Lichfield school

Central England

Plans to continue funding an overnight residential service in Lichfield for children with special educational needs and disabilities have been approved.

The Sleepover Club at Saxon Hill Academy had been under threat after Staffordshire County Council began a review of the facility at five sites.

A campaign saw calls for the provision – which sees youngsters stay at the school in specialist accommodation once a week – to be saved.

Now Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet has confirmed the authority will continue footing the bill for the service for another two years at a cost of £3.6million [$4.6M].

Cllr Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “Parents, carers and schools were quite clear about the value of this provision to those who can use it.

“I think the challenge for the schools now is to consider how can we broaden access so that as many children as possible can benefit from it.”…

"Because of its cost and the fact the council voluntarily chooses to provide the service when many other authorities do not, it’s right that we review the service periodically to make sure it is providing what is needed.

“The challenge remains how we can ensure eligible children from around the county with special education needs and disabilities can access activities and learning opportunities outside school hours on a fair footing.”

Cllr Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council

Saxon Hill Academy headteacher Melanie Newbury had led calls for the Sleepover Club to be retained.

“At Saxon Hill, children with the most complex medical needs can learn to socialise outside their family and gain independence skills to help them to be included and contribute to their community.

“To let such specialist provision disappear would have been a travesty and hopefully Staffordshire County Council are beginning to see that now that their residential provision review has taken place.

“It is thanks to the wonderful children, families and staff at Saxon Hill for expressing the absolute necessity that Sleepover Club continues to provide this irreplaceable service.

“We are keen to work with the local authority to enable more eligible children with complex medical needs to come along to Saxon Hill’s Sleepover Club which has recently been rated outstanding by Ofsted for the 15th consecutive time.”


bottom of page