08 January 2014

A review of how Northamptonshire children and young people with special needs are educated is recommending building on existing good practice in schools alongside the creation of new facilities in the county.

New special school

A meeting of Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet is due to discuss the review next week (Tues 14 January) which recommends the creation of a new special school in Daventry for pupils aged four to 16 years to address the lack of provision in the south of the county.

It also recommends two new 10-place units for secondary-aged students with autism and three 10-place units for pupils with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties.

The review was carried out in response to concerns that the current system does not match the needs of all children and young people, especially those with the most challenging needs. It involved consultation with schools and families across the county.

Changes to SEN statements

The review comes ahead of changes in national policy which will see special education needs statements replaced by new education, health and care plans from September. This reform will bring together a child’s education, social care and health needs and support in a single plan spanning birth to 25 years of age.

Councillor Catherine Boardman, cabinet member for children, families and education, said: “The current system is outdated, no longer matching the needs of our student population and not always in the right place for the children and young people who need specialist support.

“The review has highlighted where we can make improvements. So we’ve looked at provision across the county to determine how we can make sure that wherever they live in the county, and whatever level of need they have, all of our children and young people get the special education that best suits their needs.”

The review looked at two types of provision:

  • SEN units where children are taught in mainstream schools mainly within separate classes
  • resourced provision, where places are reserved at a mainstream school, taught mainly within mainstream classes but with a base and some specialist facilities around the school

Next steps

The review and its recommendations will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday 14 January in the Blue Room, County Hall, Northampton. Cabinet papers are available on our website.