New school places for children with SEND proposed

Release Date: 05 March 2018

A four-week consultation has begun over Richmond Council’s plans to create 56 extra places for pupils with special educational needs at schools across the borough.

New specialist resource provisions would be created in two schools, and eight existing provisions would be expanded.

If the plans go ahead, 56 full-time places will be created at mainstream nursery, primary and secondary schools over the next three years.

The number of local children diagnosed with having special educational needs and disabilities has been rising in recent years, partly due to earlier diagnoses of young people with conditions like Autism.

A review of the current provision was undertaken in Spring 2017 and one of its main findings was that more local places for children with SEND should be established so that families have more choice close to home and more children and young people can be educated within their home community.

Proposals would create additional places at Windham Nursery, Barnes Primary, East Sheen Primary, Hampton Hill Junior, Heathfield Infant and Heathfield Junior; and St James’s Catholic Primary, and at Grey Court, Orleans Park and Waldegrave secondary schools.

These proposals would supplement the opening of The Maaz special school, a free school run by the Auriga Academy Trust, in September 2019, and the expansions and re-provisions of the borough’s existing special schools, Clarendon and Strathmore, both also run by Auriga.

Further proposals are expected to be made in due course. Applications for at least one more special free school are expected to be made as and when opportunities arise.
Councillor Susan Chappell, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Schools, said:

“Richmond has a growing population and we know that there is a growing need for more specialist places in our schools.

“It is absolutely vital that our schools are equipped to meet pupils’ individual needs.

“These plans would go a long way towards helping meet the increased demand for special school places in the borough and reduce the need for children to be educated at independent special schools or outside the borough.

“We are working closely with schools across the borough to achieve this ambitious plan.

"There is a shared commitment from the Council and schools to ensure that the needs of these pupils can be met within our borough’s schools.

“We know that local parents want to see more choice locally, and we are keen to hear from parents whether there are other gaps which they feel should be filled. I can’t promise that we will be able to plug every gap, but we are a listening council and we are working in partnership with parents and schools to provide the best possible local offer within tight financial constraints.”

To see the proposals and have your say, visit the AFC Info website.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159. 

Reference: P126/18

Updated: 29 March 2018