(UK) Suffolk: $58M (US) for 828 SPED places for students "who cannot attend mainstream schools"

Feb 15, 2019, East Anglian Daily Times: Review into Suffolk non-mainstream school places set for late 2019 A task force is set to be established later this year to come up with measures to tackle a shortfall of places for youngsters who cannot attend mainstream schools. Pupil referral units (PRUs) are schools which are designed to provide appropriate education for youngsters such as those who have been permanently excluded, those who have experienced severe bullying, those with special educational needs and pregnant or young mums. Concerns were raised during Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday, February 13 that PRUs were at capacity, leaving youngsters who had been excluded but without a place to go vulnerable to being recruited into gangs. Conservative cabinet member for education, Gordon Jones, said that for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) there had been a recognition that there were not enough places, which had prompted a cross-party panel to be established and resulted in a £45m [$58M US dollars] plan to create 828 spaces being formed…. “When children as young as four have been forced to wait for a place, it is clear that the system is not working as it should. “Suffolk has one of the highest rates of primary school pupils sent to PRUs in the country, so PRUs should not be looked at in isolation when a more holistic approach is needed. “Early intervention, effective outreach support and tackling the exclusion epidemic that exists in our county must be priorities for the Conservative administration if they are serious about delivering a positive change for children in our county.”