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Suffolk County Council release information about new SEND units in mainstream schools

Suffolk County Council has released information regarding the development of new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) units attached to mainstream schools.

The schools have been identified to develop new units.

In SET Ixworth School, Newmarket Academy and Copleston High School, Ipswich Key Stage 3/4 units for communication and interaction.

Cllr Mary Evans.
Cllr Mary Evans.

In Pipers Vale Primary Academy, Ipswich and Burton End Primary Academy, Haverhill two generic Key Stage 1 units will be developed.

Murrayfield Primary Academy, Ipswich, Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy, Newmarket and Causton Junior School, Felixstowe there are plans for three communication and interaction Key Stage 2 units.

There will be one cognition and learning Key Stage 2 unit in Clements Primary Academy, Haverhill and one cognition and learning Key Stage 3/4 Unit in Castle Manor Primary Academy, Haverhill.

In total, this means an additional 168 new specialist placements will be available for children and their families in Suffolk from September next year, on top of existing specialist provision.

Successful schools are currently working with the council to ensure the appropriate infrastructure and support is in place to enable these new units to be open next September.

A further commissioning round will begin next Spring and will consider further expressions of interest from mainstream schools who hope to open units in September 2021.

This will include targeted work from our provider development team in areas of the county where gaps have been identified to ensure the council are able to offer local provision for children and their families.

Councillor Mary Evans, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: “We are delighted with the interest shown by our mainstream schools and would like to thank all those who came forward wanting to work in partnership to deliver this provision. If you are a mainstream school that would like to become involved or would like further information there is still time.

“Regular updates will follow as we continue to work hard in the delivery of our capital programme across the next 5 years, resulting in an additional 870 specialist places.”

A spokesperson for The Suffolk Parent Carer Network, (SPCN) said: “The development of new specialist education placements is something that SPCN continue to be involved in at all stages, with the parent carer voice and feedback we have received being an integral part of the specialist unit provision process.

“To see so many providers coming forward saying they want to be part of the solution gives us real hope that we are now on our way to having an education offer that meets the needs of Suffolk's most vulnerable learners and we look forward to working alongside all partners in the future developments of the Capital Programme.”

Cllr Jack Abbott, Labour spokesman for Children's Services and Education at Suffolk County Council said: “It is encouraging that our cross-party recommendations have started being implemented. These new places will make a huge difference to children’s lives and finally deliver the special educational needs provision that Suffolk so desperately requires.

“However, huge swathes of the county will miss out on this first wave of new provision – we need to end the postcode lottery that currently exists, not entrench it. It must be ensured that no child in Suffolk is left behind and is able to access an appropriate education setting close to home.

“Today’s announcement signals an important step in the right direction, but there is a lot of work still to do.”

If your school is interested in developing a SEND unit contact Jamie Mills on Jamie.mills@suffolk.gov.uk