£4million pound boost for special needs places in Wirral

The money, part of £850 million being invested around the country, is designed to provide specialist support for children with autism, learning difficulties or mobility difficulties to meet their extra needs.

Since 2010, 60,000 more special needs places have created but with more children identified as needing support, many SEND schools are at full capacity.

Last month, the council was forced to apologise to a family and pay £3,350 after failings meant a child ‘missed out’ on a year of school.

The Local Government Ombudsman had found the authority had failed to find a suitable school placement for a child with special educational needs for more than three years and communicated poorly with the family throughout the time.

Vida Wilson, Conservative councillor for Moreton West & Saughall Massie and vice-chair of Governors at Sandbrook Primary School in Moreton: “In my 20 or so years as a school governor in Moreton, we have seen big increases in the number of children needing extra help and support, often because we’re getting better at recognising and identifying needs early on.

“Whether it’s the reports we receive at the Council’s Children, Young People and Education Committee; the often desperate appeals councillors receive from parents or grandparents or our work as school governors, we know that demand for places is outstripping capacity in many of the Borough’s SEND schools.

“This has created delays from the time a child received their Education, Health and Care Plan and that plan being put into action. Often this is months, or even years, meaning lost education to some of the most vulnerable children and students.

“This extra £4m will go a long way to tackling these unacceptable delays by creating much needed new places.

“We must make sure that no child is left behind and every child is given the support needed to reach their full potential.”

Since 2010, there have been 108 new special schools opened, with a further 92 on the way.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan added: “Today we are taking another step to ensure our education system provides all children with the very best start in life.

“We are making sure no parent has to battle to get the right type of school to meet their needs, and improving the school estate so all children are taught in the best classrooms for generations to come.”

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