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Schools to receive £2.1m for special needs funding

Wed, 06/11/2019

Westminster schools are set to benefit from £2.1m funding to help pupils with special needs.

Up to 50 new school places for children with special educational needs (SEN) are to be created in Westminster by 2021.

This comes as 11 schools across the city will see over £2.1m investment to help increase provision and fund new facilities for pupils.

Mainstream schools, academies and special schools, from early-years to further education colleges, are set to benefit.

The funding, which comes from central government, aims to improve special provision for children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Schools were invited to bid for the capital funding earlier in the year.

Cllr Timothy Barnes, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Education and Skills at Westminster City Council, said:

“As a local authority we have listened to what families have said they need and want for their children. This funding will help provide everything from a simple changing bench for disabled children to more classroom places so that they can attend local schools.”

Some projects have already been delivered:

  • All Souls Church of England School - £270,000 to set up provision for children with autism
  • Westminster Special Schools - £380,000 to increase its capacity and improve its outdoor space for learning

The additional projects in the pipeline are:

  • ARK Atwood Primary Academy - £20,000 to create a new dedicated teaching area for children with autism
  • Barrow Hill Junior School - £70,000 to improve entrance facilities for children with SEN
  • Churchill Gardens Primary Academy - £8,000 to install a changing bench for disabled children accessing short-breaks
  • Gateway Academy - £10,000 to improve provision for children with autism by creating a new dedicated teaching area which recognises sensor needs
  • St Marylebone Bridge School - £50,000 to improve the school’s sports centre
  • Millbank Academy - £500,000 for building works to provide extra places for children
  • Queens Park Primary School – £10,000 to reconfigure classrooms to provide more space for pupils
  • Robinsfield Infant School - £50,000 to reconfigure classrooms
  • St Augustine’s C of E High School - £200,000 to improve acoustics for pupils with hearing impairments
  • Wilberforce Primary School - £100,000 towards installing a new lift
  • A new satellite nursery and facilities for pupils with autism is being given £400,000 to set up

Julie Ely, Assistant Director for SEN and Educational Psychology, at Westminster City Council said:

“Parents have said they want good local schools that are not only inclusive but are able to support children with the broadest range of special educational needs. We’ve listened to what they have told us as we hope these plans make clear, providing both additional spaces and enhanced facilities for local families.”

Bids from schools were assessed by a council officers working group including the Director of Education and officers from SEN and Short Breaks teams. It was agreed that the focus for the funding should be around support for pupils with autism to help schools to improve inclusivity and address gaps in provision such as hearing impairment.

Hend Rahman, Chair of Make it Happen, the parent carer forum, said:

“As a parent of a child with SEN, it’s important to know that our voices have been heard. This funding will improve the lives of families and help to continue to build positive relationships between parents and their schools.”

Cllr Lorraine Dean, SEN lead for Westminster City Council, said:

“As a parent of a child with special needs I know how difficult it is for parents with SEN children living in busy city centres, such as Westminster. So this announcement is good news for families, teachers and our community as a whole.”

Last updated: 6 November 2019