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(UK) Nottingham: ASD student pop. grows from 317 to 642; $23M funding boost insufficient

Dec 5, 2023, Notts TV: Nottingham schools ‘firefighting’ as demand for special needs places soars

E. Midlands

Headteachers at some Nottingham schools fear there are still not enough places for children with special educational needs and disabilities, despite a plan to create more.

Figures show there are more than 2,000 children and young people receiving support in the city.

And the number of children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has risen by more than 100 per cent from 317 children to 642 in 2022. Similarly the number of children needing support for Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) increased by 146 per cent from 70 children to 172 children.

In response the Department for Education (DfE) announced funding for new special educational needs and disabilities places, known as SEND.

Nottingham City Council was given £17.9m [$23M] to cover a period between 2021 and 2024.

However, during a Nottingham Schools Forum meeting on December 5, serious concerns were raised that there is still not enough specialist space for children.

Alison Tones, the headteacher at the council-maintained Rufford Primary School, said: “My concern is, and I understand the need to do something urgently, and I need to understand those decisions need to be made to some extent on a pragmatic basis, but it always feels to me like it is; ‘where are we are going to put these children?’, not; ‘what is our long term aim for these children, and what are the successes and the outcomes of the provision?’

“I just hope at some point we reach a point where it doesn’t feel like firefighting.”

According to council documents places at Westbury Academy will increase by six places from 104 to 110 in 2024/25, places at Woodlands Academy will rise by eight from 89 to 97, Denewood Academy will increase places by eight from 42 to 50, six additional places will be created at Djanogly Strelley and four will be created at Milford Academy.

The new places will come at a cost of £564,000 [$711K] ….

These developments include an expansion of Rosehill Special School for 80 places, enhanced resource provision at Fernwood Secondary School for 20 places, eight to 10 places at Nottingham Girl’s Academy, enhanced provision at Gladehill School for eight places and finally eight places at Milford Academy.

However Sandra Stapleton, the principle at the Nottingham Emmanuel School in West Bridgford, said: “It is great to see more spaces coming but I don’t feel, and this is obviously opinion and that of the trust that I’m in, that there is sufficient spaces across the city even with those additional spaces being put in place.”

Terry Smith, the headteacher at Greenfield Community School, added: “I appreciate totally the fact we are getting extra money into the budget, because our budget position is looking really dodgy for next year, but there is still that wider issue, that we need to recognise, that there is significant pressures on the school due to the funding for children with additional needs.”

Schools across Nottingham had already raised concerns over their budgets after an “incredibly serious” miscalculation of funding by the Government, which led to them losing out on just under £1.9m [$2.4M] in funding as a result….

“I know we are concerned with Nottingham children and Nottingham schools, but the context is challenging nationally and most of my conversations with peers across the region are on this very issue.

“I think the proposals, in terms of our places and expansion of places, the response we are trying to put together, is affordable….

1 Comment

Look at this pro-patriotism, pro-government ("that protects us from itself" which will never exist and never has) clown channel: Alaska Prepper - YouTube

A.P. is nothing more than a clown and hypocrite who has mindlessly said the word "government" enough times to break a Guiness World Record for it. Anne, can you please talk to AP/comment to AP about what happened in 1986 with "freedom fighting, patriotic" Ronald Reagan's 1986 decision he was "tricked into"? And why demonic pae/do/phile DJT was not "tricked into" Operation Warp Speed but did so willingly and intentionally. Interestingly, and not long ago, DJT made regressive ASD -and childhood inoculations' risks- a major selling point/big deal on Twitter, to promote his campaign to the MAGA…

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