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(UK) Reading: New special school will save county $2.2M (US)

Oct 16, 2020, Reading Chronicle: Plans to reduce budget for special needs kids by £1.7 million [$2.2.M U.S.] South central England AMBITIOUS plans to improve education for special needs pupils in West Berkshire and save £1.7 million [$2.2.M U.S.] over the next six years have been unveiled. West Berkshire Council has outlined a strategy which aims to ensure pupils “receive the best possible services” that are “delivered as cost effectively as possible”. It includes plans to build a new school in West Berkshire for 66 children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The council is currently searching for a site for the school. The new school could save West Berkshire Council over £1 million by 2027 and “take pressure off” two local SEND schools (Brookfields and The Castle School), according to a council report…. The council currently pays for 36 children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs to attend specialist schools and each placement costs around £54,000 [$70K U.S.] a year. It also pays for 53 children with autism to attend specialist schools, with each placement costing between £55,000 and £63,000 a year. According to the council report, it “is not possible to say accurately” how many of these placements could be avoided if SEND support in mainstream schools is improved. But the council says it would save £434,000 [$560K U.S.] by avoiding six SEMH placements and two placements for autistic children by 2023. Cutting the number of permanent exclusions is another priority for the council. Reducing exclusions by just eight per cent could save £156,000 by 2025, the report says….


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