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(UK) Suffolk County: An additional 550 special ed places needed by 2025

Oct 13, 2022, BBC: Suffolk County Council pledges £10m for SEND school places

A council has agreed to invest £10m of funding for specialist units for young people with special educational needs. The money, approved by Suffolk County Council, will pay for 168 places at specialist units for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The council said most of the units would be opened by 2024 or 2025. A council report said there had been an "unprecedented" rise in requests for places in the last 12 to 18 months. Councillors approved the investment in a cabinet meeting on Monday, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. Government funding worth £7m will be spent on specialist units attached to mainstream schools, creating 126 places for young people. A further £3m from the council will be spent on three specialist stand-alone units which will provide 42 places. The decision also approved a request for three free schools with the cost covered by the Department for Education - two for children with severe learning difficulties and one school for those with autism spectrum disorder and complex social, emotional and mental health needs. The plans are phase three of the council's special educational needs and disabilities capital programme from 2019. Phase two of the plan was recently signed off in June 2022 and created up to 73 new places at specialist units. It is predicted that 550 additional places for young people with special educational needs and disabilities will be needed in Suffolk by 2025.


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