Report from the Strategic Director for Children and Young People’s Services.
Consideration was given to the report which sought approval to move forward with Phase 4 of the Rotherham Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) programme of activity. From 2018 onwards, Cabinet had approved 3 previous phases of SEND Sufficiency, each targeted at addressing incremental rises in SEND cohorts and creating or improving specialist education provision. This was in order to make Rotherham best placed to have education provision within the Borough that met the needs of all children, young people and young adults with identified SEND needs.
Phase one had concentrated on increasing special schools places; phase two focussed on the need for more targeted provision for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and phase 3 created specialist provision for children and young people with Social Emotional and Mental Health needs through the Elements Academy which opened in September 2022. Rotherham had also entered into a Safety Valve Agreement with the Department for Education.
The focus of phase 4 was to work closely with schools within the Borough and the DfE to create 10 additional SEND resource bases within mainstream education settings which would create a minimum of 100 additional SEND places over the next 3 academic years. The proposed breakdown of these places was set out in paragraph 1.7 of the report.
The second proposed aspect of Phase 4 was to support School Access Issues (both in mainstream schools and Special Schools) by creating 2 funding streams which would be accessible through application and assessment for schools to request capital investment to support the schools to meet a higher threshold of SEND need. This would be through adaptation to existing buildings and would allow a wider level of complexity of need to be met within individual settings. The total fund would be £3 million across 4 years. The rollout of the schemes was expected from Easter 2023 onwards.
1. That approval be granted for the proposal to create 10 additional SEND resource bases in mainstream education and thus create a minimum of 100 additional SEND places across this phase of SEND sufficiency.
2. That approval be granted for the proposal to enhance both mainstream and specialist SEND accessibility, through targeted investment in schools to enhance their ability to meet a wider level of SEND needs within their individual education settings.
3. That the 2022/23 High Needs Capital Allocation be used to fund these proposals in line with Safety Valve Capital Application submitted to the DfE.