Barnsley Council spends £11m sending youngsters with SEND to out of borough schools
The bill for sending youngsters with special educational needs and disability (SEND) to schools outside of the borough is set to cost Barnsley Council more than £11m over the next financial year.
A new report reveals that 220 children and young people from Barnsley have an out of borough school place, at a total cost of £11,233,061.
In a bid to save cash and make it easier for pupils with SEND to go to a school that offers appropriate care, the council is considering a number of options, including builing new schools, expanding curent schools, and converting exisitng buildings.
A report to the council states: “Limited small scale developments on existing school sites can take up some of the pressure currently, but are unable to achieve the longer-term sufficiency requirements of the local area.”
Demand for post 16 education is predicted to increase from 667 places to 1822 – a rise of 173 per cent.
This is in part due to a reform which introduced the right to educationprovision for young people with education, health and care plans, up to age25.
The report adds that “there is a current and growing future shortage of designated specialist educational provision for children with SEMH.”
“There is currently a significantly limited alternative option within borough for children and young people with autism and, combined with parental preference, which cannot often be accommodated, this is a challenge for the local area.”
The report predicts that in the next eight years, the number of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder will rise by 112 percent, and the number of pupils with social, emotional and mental health will increase by 88 percent.
The report, set to be heard by Barnsley Council’s ruling cabinet on April 21, seeks approval to “develop a transformational programme aimed at expanding provision in order to best meet the complex education needs of children and young people, particularly the cohort of children and young people with autism or social, emotional or mental health needs (SEMH).”
If apprioved, a new board will be created in a bid to develop a “council-wide approach to meeting the education requirements” of children and young people with SNED.