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(UK) Liverpool: Council tries to address 'dramatic increase' in SPED students

Feb 18, 2022, Liverpool Echo: Special school could be moved 14 miles away as council tackles demand for places

NW England A consultation will be launched on relocating a special educational needs and disability (SEND) school 14 miles away as Liverpool Council attempts to tackle the “dramatic increase” in need for school places. A non-statutory engagement exercise will be launched with stakeholders over the future of three city special schools and pupil referral units after the local authority’s cabinet gave its approval to proposals this morning. As a result, a report will be put together on the potential for Bank View School on Long Lane to relocate 14 miles away to Parklands in Speke. It will also seek to assess the viability of New Heights Key Stage 4 site relocating from Parklands to the vacant school premises on Naylorsfield Drive. Further discussions will be held with the leadership at Ernest Cookson School, Hope School, Clifford Holroyde School and Woolton High School regarding future organisation and the delivery of education at these locations for young people with social, emotional, and mental health needs. Cllr Tom Logan, cabinet member for education and skills, said that Liverpool “does not have enough places to meet demand” currently and “radical changes” were needed to the system with the consultation acting as a starting point. According to the cabinet documents, relocation of the schools would enable a long-term plan to create additional school places” as Liverpool Council currently places children in the independent non-maintained special school sector at “considerable expense” due to the lack of suitable provision and places in the city in the maintained provision. Movement of the sites would “reduce the long-term pressure on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) High Needs funding” according to the report as “pupil place costs of education children in borough are substantially lower than placing children and young people in the independent sector,” it is claimed. It is estimated that for 2021-2022 Liverpool will spend more than an estimated £10m [$14M] on school places for pupils in the independent sector. The findings of the non-statutory consultation will inform the council’s cabinet as to whether it should move towards a statutory discussion on the future of the schools.


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