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Consultation on changes to special educational needs

Cllr Sue Sanderson

Changes to how children with special educational needs and disabilities are educated in Cumbria are being proposed in a new consultation launched today by Cumbria County Council.

The proposals aim to widen the range of schools able to support children with additional needs, as well as improving the flexibility and responsiveness of the current system.

The council is asking parents, carers, schools and others with an interest to have their say before 19 July.

Full details of the consultation can be found at https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/childrensservices/school-organisation/default.asp. A series of public consultation meetings are also being held around the county during June and July.

Known as Resourced Provision (RP), the current system provides funding to 24 schools across the county to allow them to meet the needs of children and young people who require additional support in education, but who do not require the full range of support offered by Cumbria’s five Special Schools. The additional funding RP schools receive allow them to provide more specialist support. This could mean additional staffing, like Teaching Assistants and specialist teachers, as well as investment in specially adapted buildings and specialist equipment.

Under the new proposals funding would be moved to five Resourced Provision Hubs, based in Cumbria’s Special Schools. The new Hubs would then place teachers and support to schools in their area depending on the needs of the children attending individual schools. Importantly this would significantly increase the range of local schools that children with additional needs could attend, allow the system to make best use of available funding and ensure resources follow children, rather than being fixed in a small number of schools.

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said: “I’m passionate about special educational needs and proud that in Cumbria children with additional needs achieve significantly better educational outcomes than nationally.

“But the current system is inflexible and limits the options that parents and children have. I know that many want to attend their local school, staying part of the local community, but that isn’t always possible if the school doesn’t have the capacity to meet the child’s needs.

“These new proposals change that and have the potential improve the education that children with additional needs receive even further. It’s really important that we hear from children, parents and schools about what we’re proposing and I hope they will take time to have their say.”

Public consultation events:

Carlisle

  • 4th June 2019 – 4.30 pm – 6.30 pm The Library, Trinity School, Strand Road, Carlisle, XA1 1JB

Kendal

  • 10th June 2019 – 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm Queen Katherine School, Appleby Road, Kendal, LA9 6PJ

Barrow

  • 27th June 2019 – 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm Walney School, Sandy Gap Lane, Barrow in Furness, LA14 3JT

Workington

  • 1st July 2019 – 3.30 pm – 5.30 pm Workington Academy, Stainburn Road, Workington, CA14 4EB

Penrith

  • 8th July 2019 – 5.00 pm – 7.00 pm Beaconside School, Hutton Hill, Penrith, CA11 8EB

Egremont

  • 15th July 2019 – 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm West Lakes Academy, Main Street, Egremont, CA22 2DQ

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