4:20 p.m. December 30, 2021
More than £ 6million is to be made available to develop new school places for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Suffolk.
In its budget proposal for 2022, the Conservative Suffolk County Council administration revealed that it planned to spend between £ 6.1m and £ 6.5m on a review in the spring.
This will be phase two of an investment program which has so far seen £ 45million investment to create 861 places.
The latest treasury was unveiled as part of the 2022/23 budget announcement which will be reviewed on January 11 before a final board decision in February.
The council’s budget report prior to this review meeting indicated that the review would assess the success of phase one, the spread and mixing of new locations, and the gaps that remain, which will inform phase two and how the money is spent.
Deputy head of the board Richard Rout, who is also a member of the finance and environment cabinet, said later next year to create even more places.
“We have announced the original £ 45million in 2019 and then an additional £ 6.5million is needed for what we call phase two of SEND. It’s flagged up in our capital program, but it’s not yet being rolled out.
“Phase two is for specialized units beyond clause 21/22 and more details will be presented later in the next fiscal year, but this is something we are committed to investing in.
“We know this is a priority for Suffolk, we have heard this message loud and clear.”
The £ 45million SEND plan used a mix of new special schools and specialist units attached to mainstream schools.
This aims to help students to integrate educational institutions adapted to their needs and to reduce placements outside the country.
The first 259 places were awarded for the 2020/21 academic year and 334 places this year.
The remaining places will be distributed with 158 in 2022/23 and 110 in 2023/24.
Demand for specialist places continued to increase and follows an Education Review Committee meeting where councilors urged the administration to allocate more funds to SEND improvements.