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(UK) N. Yorks: $3.7M for ASD school; 47% increase over 3 yrs due to better recognition

Feb 22, 2023, Your Harrogate: Harrogate special needs school to expand with 45 more pupils

N. England

Springwater School in Starbeck, which caters for children with special needs, is set to expand with 45 more pupils.

The school offers education to pupils aged 2 to 19 who may have “profound and multiple, severe or physical difficulties”.

It also welcomes pupils with autism and those with challenging behaviour.
North Yorkshire County Council’s executive met today to approve spending £3.1m [$3.7M] of its High Needs Provision Capital Allocation (HNPCA) budget on increasing capacity at the school on Starbeck High Street.

A report said that due to rising demand, the council has had to rely on expensive school places outside of North Yorkshire, which typically costs £70,000 [$80.4K] per year for each day of placement.

It said the investment in Springwater School, which it owns, will ensure there are more “quality in-house” places available for children with special needs in the area. The school serves a large catchment area from Selby to Harrogate and Ripon, and according to its website, 71 pupils currently attend.

It’s hoped the expansion could be ready to welcome the additional pupils from the start of the 2024/25 academic year.

Rise in autism

The report said the number of children in need of support for autism has risen by 16.8% in the last 12 months and by 47% over the last 3 years.

This is a sharper increase than has been seen nationally, with a rise of 24.8% being reported over the past three years.

The government allocated £9,184,000 [$10,970,000] to North Yorkshire County Council to develop additional capacity in specialist provision between 2021 and 2024, a figure that was called “disappointing” in the report. …

Stuart Carlton, corporate director of children and young people services, said the UK is recognising autism “in a way we just wouldn’t have done 10-15 years ago.”

He said:

“We’re seeing a rise in autism, that’s well documented. We’re looking at how to increase provision particularly at specialist schools to deal with that.

“There are national reports out this week about lack of capacity at specialist schools, We are not immune from that. The whole system needs significant reform.”


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