(UK) Medway wants TWO NEW SPED SCHOOLS; one for kids with "challenging behaviour"

Oct 23, 2018, Kent Online: Medway could be getting two new schools to support children with complex special educational needs … If successful, the free school would provide places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). A new free school would help increase provision, as well as reduce the number of children who need to be placed out of area to help meet their educational needs. The council says it's committed to planning now to help meet the anticipated demand for school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Placing out of area can be expensive – the average cost of a 52-week residential SEND placement is £140,000, [$182K US dollars] whereas local provision is considerably cheaper as the child can remain living at home. In addition to the bid for a free school, the council is also exploring a proposal to provide a new independent school to help increase the number of school places available for children who have complex needs with challenging behaviour. In September, Medway’s Cabinet agreed to lease the site at Cornwallis Avenue in Gillingham to Medway Commercial Group (MCG), with a proposal for MCG to build an independent school to help meet the demand on SEND school places. … The proposed school could include provision for residential and respite care, and could cater for 210 children aged between seven and 19. The £25million [$32M US dollars] learning village could also provide additional support services, such as educational psychology, school nursing and access to other specialist support, and could also be open to the community outside of school hours. … Cllr Andrew Mackness, cabinet member for children’s services at the council, said: "It is important we plan now to ensure there is sufficient provision in years to come. "We recognise that post 2020 more children will require a place at a special school, which can provide them with the specialist support they need to achieve their full potential. … Earlier this year, parents of pupils at Abbey Court raised fears over a lack of spaces for special needs children beyond primary school.