July 10 2020 | By Anne Dachel, CHD Contributing Writer, Age of Autism Editor, LossofBrainTrust.com |
“Once again, we turn our attention to what was happening to schools in Britain during June. The U.S. is forty times bigger than the U.K., but the stories from there dwarf anything from America.
Schools in that country are in crisis because of the mounting cost of special education, and no one points out the real tragedy unfolding before our eyes: Over and over news stories from around the world tell us that, increasingly, students have disabilities.
Everywhere in Britain they’re building new special schools and expanding special education programs, but we’re not told why there are these escalating numbers. Loss of Brain Trust catalogues it all: https://www.lossofbraintrust.com/
Villages and cities across Britain all report the same situation, more special education plans and a lack of places. To show how widespread all of this is I noted where in the U.K. these reports came from.
BBC: (Northern Ireland) ‘Progress expected’ on special needs places
The Education Minister has said it is “unacceptable” that 285 children with statements of Special Educational Needs have no school place. Peter Weir’s comments came after BBC News NI revealed those children did not have a place for September….
156 of the 285 statemented children without a place are seeking to be admitted to special schools.
…But the Education Authority (EA) has said that there is particular pressure on special school places in areas including Belfast and Newry….
Mr Weir also said the number of children with statements, and without a place, was much greater than in previous years.
Kent News Shopper: (Southeast London) Consultation on plans for new Riverside school site opened
Plans to form a new satellite school site to keep up with swelling demand for specialist education in Bromley have been published, with locals’ opinions on the potential move wanted. …
The council saying it would provide an additional 60 places for local students with special educational needs.
According to the council, ballooning numbers of children with Education, Health and Care Plans have far outweighed projected increases in recent years.
“Since 2018 there has been a 28.5 per cent increase in the number of Education, Health and Care Plans issued in Bromley against a projected increase of 7 per cent across the four years from 2018 to 2022,” council documents state.
The authority states there is a particular shortage of places for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) or severe learning difficulty (SLD)….
“The expansion of Riverside School will help Bromley Council meet this need through increasing the capacity of the school from 259 to 319 places.”…
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: (North central England) New SEN school, Millcourt, in Shelf, is preparing to open in September
A NEW school for nine to 18-year-olds with special educational needs is readying to open in Shelf in September. …
Specialist education provider, Witherslack Group, is currently converting a large office building at Shelf Mills, Wade House Road, into a day school for up to 60 pupils. The firm already runs two schools and a vocational training centre in the Wakefield area – which are full – and has identified the need for a new specialist day facility in the area….
“This is needed to provide for the identified growing need and to reduce the travel times for pupils. By creating a more sustainably acceptable arrangement for children with specialist educational needs, the siting of a specialist school at Halifax would be highly desirable.”
Bournemouth Daily Echo: (South coast of England) Autism Wessex opens two new Portfield School schemes
A DORSET charity that cares for and supports children and young adults with autism has announced the opening of two new community projects thanks to £90,000 [$111K U.S.] worth of donations. …
Haverhill Echo: (Southeast England) Headteacher to leave Haverhill school and lead the formation of new special education units
The headteacher of an ‘outstanding’ special school in Haverhill has been appointed to help develop new SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) units in five secondary and primary schools.
Georgina Ellis, headteacher of Churchill Academy, said she was proud and excited to be leading on the new development at Newmarket Academy and Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill….
Mrs Ellis, who has led Churchill Academy to two top Ofsted ratings since it opened in 2015, said: “While I am sad to be leaving Churchill Academy, I am very excited about this new challenge.
“We know there is a great need across Suffolk for more SEND places…
Chester Standard: (West central England) New special needs school to open in Chester city centre this autumn
A NEW school and centre of excellence for special educational needs and disability (SEND) in the UK is to open in the heart of Chester. Based in a Grade II*-listed building in the historic Abbey Square, Abbey School for Exceptional Children, is due to open in autumn 2020. The day and residential school will have up to 75 places for children and young persons aged four to 19 years.
It will cater for pupils with a diagnosis of autism and/or severe learning difficulties, who may display behaviour of concern or behaviour that challenges families and services….
The school is investing over £1 million [$1.2M U.S.] in research, development, evaluation, and training – working closely with the universities….
Stourbridge News: (West Midlands) Boost for special education needs provision in the Dudley borough
A SPECIALIST base for youngsters with special educational needs is set to become a permanent fixture at a Brierley Hill primary school as part of a programme to boost SEND provision across the borough.
The unit at Hawbush Primary School in Brierley Hill caters for up to eight children with social, emotional and mental health needs and has been in operation since January, but council bosses have now confirmed the facility will be in place permanently….
“We have seen a sustained increase in the borough in recent years in the need for specialist educational provision for young people with special educational needs….
…It will prevent pupils from having to travel long distances to get to schools outside the borough, which is what is happening in some cases currently.”
DerbyshireLive: (East Midlands) Derby school opens new centre for pupils with special educational needs
A Derby school has unveiled a new centre for children with special educational needs (SEND) after a damning Government report concluded the city does not do enough for those students. …
St Giles, part of the Spencer Academies Trust, will now be able to offer places for 130 primary school children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) plan over its two city-centre sites….
Sheffield Star: (North central England) Sheffield Council working to provide additional special school places for September despite pandemic
Sheffield Council has insisted it is working hard through the pandemic to provide more than 90 new specialist school places for the start of the 2020 academic year. …
Coun Abtisam Mohammed, cabinet member for Education and Skills said: “The demand for special school places, for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) continues to grow in Sheffield, and we are working hard despite the difficulties of Covid-19 to expand the number of places available….
Scarborough News: (Northeast England) North Yorkshire County Council has backed the permanent creation of satellite sixth-form facility for a specialist education school in Scarborough
In 2017, Springhead School moved its sixth form onto the former Graham Lower School site in Lady Edith’s Drive due to mounting pressure over the number of places required….
Prior to the temporary expansion on the new site the school could accommodate approximately 75 pupils with the relevant special educational needs. “As a result of the expansion on the additional site this has been increased to approximately 85 and this capacity will be made permanent by this proposal.”
Hemel Today: (North of London) Increase in requests for education and health care plans in Hertfordshire
The number of requests for additional support for children and young people with special needs has increased by 20 per cent over the past year in Hertfordshire….
Data reported to the latest meeting of the special cabinet meeting on Wednesday (June 3) shows that last year (2019/20) there were 1,678 requests for EHCPs. That’s 20 per cent higher than the 1,394 requests made in 2018/19. And, according to the report to the panel, it follows a 10 per cent increase in requests between 2017/18 and 2018/19….
“The council continues to see year on year increase in the number of young people aged 0-25 through an EHCP,” says the report….
BBC: (East coast of England) Norfolk Special Education Needs and Disabilities service ‘failing’
Families have been left “feeling isolated” due to “significant” failings in Norfolk’s Special Education Needs and Disabilities (Send) services, a report said. Inspectors found failings in areas including diagnosis and waiting times. They also found a backlog in reviews and assessments….
Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that families were “facing a cliff edge” as children approached adulthood due to a lack of communication and knowledge by service leaders….
John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services at the council, said: “We have an ambitious strategy to address it, which inspectors recognised. There are no surprises in this report: we know where improvement is required, and we are committed to achieving this.” He said £120m [$153M U.S.] was being invested in Send services across the county….
Northamptonshire Telegraph: (East Midlands) First look at new special secondary school near Higham Ferrers
The school was originally supposed to open this year but has been delayed
A long awaited special secondary school just outside Higham Ferrers is coming forward.
East Northants Council’s planning committee is expected to approve the plans put forward by the Department of Education for the 145-place Chelveston Road School off the B645….
Education officer Gwyn Botterill said last month there was a ‘perfect storm’ brewing as the need for special school places in Northants is over capacity and many children are having to be sent to other counties to be educated at high costs to the local education authority….
Essex Daily Gazette: (Southeast England) Lexden Springs School wins social impact award
…The expansion was part of the Essex County Council’s plans to spend up to £115 million [$147M U.S.] on special educational needs places across Essex.
The investment, which includes £42 million [$54M U.S.] from the Essex Schools Forum, came after an increase in the number of children in the county being diagnosed with autism and a surge in the demand for special needs school places…
North Essex News: (Southeast England) Leigh boy with special needs left in limbo as school withdraws offer
THE mum of a child with special educational needs says she has been left in limbo after the school he was due to transfer to in September withdrew its offer….
“Even if they were open I would need the council to agree the setting and pass across the relevant paperwork specific to my son’s educational healthcare plan.” Kate has been in touch with Sir David Amess MP and is considering having to home school Harley….
Darlington and Stockton Times: (Northeast England) Council to pump more funds into special education sites
LEADING members of a local authority which has seen its special education services come under intensive pressure in recent years are set to consider setting up a specific fund “to enhance the suitability and quality of learning environments”.
Meanwhile, recent years have seen a significant growth in the number of students classed as needing specialist educational help to the authority having to buy a significant number of placements for special educational needs pupils in the independent sector. Given that the cost differential between an average cost of place in the independent sector and the average cost of a place in a special school is typically £42,000 [$53K US] this places significant additional pressure on the council’s stretched budget. …
Officers have recommended for £1.6m [$2M US] to be invested in “modernisation and suitability schemes” for specialist provision over the coming year, representing 28 per cent of the total for such work.
KCW Today: “Just enough” is not enough: why we’re failing SEN students in the UK
Children are among the most vulnerable in society, and when a child has special educational needs (SEN), it’s all the more important that their needs are properly met in school and beyond. Yet, as BBK has revealed, the government is continuing to fail SEN students across England.
Through collating publicly available government data, and with commentary from literacy and inclusion expert Jules ‘`Daulby, the specialist law firm were able to paint a stark picture of the SEN landscape in England….
Its abundance of resources and facilities means London tops many of the metrics, and yet it’s the South East that’s home to the greatest number of SEN students. In fact, London gets a whopping £22.9 million more in high needs funding than the South East. Changes in the system aren’t necessarily positive
- Number of SEN pupils has risen for third consecutive year
- Changes in SEN identification may mean some pupils are left behind
The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities has risen for a third consecutive year. In January 2019, pupils with SEN represented 14.9% of the overall student body, while the number was 14.6% in 2018 and 14.4% in 2017. However, as Daulby points out, “it’s hard to know if there are more children with SEN now, or whether the system is simply identifying needs better.”