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(UK) Worcs: MORE special needs preschools needed; more kids every year

Mar 30 2024, Worcester News: "Worcester needs more special needs nurseries for children"  


Worcester needs more specialist nurseries for children with special educational needs (SEN), according to nursery nurses.

Staff at Wishing Well Nursery in Rainbow Hill said the number of children with SEN is increasing every year.

But giving those children the education they deserve is getting harder, they say, because of a lack of both specialist places and support for the nurseries that do take on SEN children. . . .

Dawn Morris, SENDCO at the nursery, said she has to create more education, health and care (EHC) plans, which identify the extra help or support a child needs, than ever before.

“But the process takes months,” she said, “and often by the time a child goes to school, there’s nothing to send with them so the school has to start from scratch again.”

“And there’s a knock-on effect,” said general manager Mary Felici, “we have 10 children here who should be accessing Fort Royal when they leave, but the reality is that six of them will probably go to mainstream schools.”

Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet is set to approve plans for a new special school in Malvern next week.

But Wishing Well staff say that would still leave the problem of having a shortage of places for two to four-year-olds.

Previously, governors at Fort Royal said the lack of SEND places could have “dire consequences” for vulnerable children.

Cllr Tracey Onslow, the county council’s cabinet member for education, said the council is working with schools to increase pupil numbers and lobbying the government for more funding.




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