(UK) Wales: Special school hopes to increase from 120 to 175 places; cost: $350K

Apr 22, 2021, South Wales Argus: Views sought on Ebbw Vale special school expansion plan;

PLANS to expand a special school in Ebbw Vale have moved a step closer after councillors gave the green light for a public consultation. Blaenau Gwent council’s executive committee unanimously agreed to a consultation on plans to increase the capacity of Pen y Cwm Special School from 120 to 175 places. If given the go-ahead, then the proposal could be implemented in September. … The council would also develop a long-term plan to increase capacity to meet future demand. A report on the proposal says: “Should nothing change, the local authority will be unable to meet the needs of all learners particularly those with profound and multiple learning difficulties within Blaenau Gwent. “Therefore, they would need to be placed out of county at significant additional cost, outside of their community and with increased travel time.” Concerns were raised in an education scrutiny committee over whether these plans are enough. In that meeting Cllr Tommy Smith asked whether it is “going to be sufficient capacity or is the school going to be oversubscribed in the near future”…. Currently the council has 20 additional learning needs pupils that are educated out of the local authority area, costing £896,000 [$1,240,000 U.S.] … The expansion could cost around £250,000 [$346,000] , which would be met by the capital maintenance grant and the Welsh Government’s additional learning needs grant funding. The report says the school population has grown by almost 30 per cent since relocating to a new building in November 2012….