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New: Special Educational Needs and Disability Capital survey

Thank you to all who responded to the SEND Capital Survey last year. This is the second opportunity for you to have a say in how this capital fund is spent.

As you may recall, earlier this year the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families announced a £215m capital grant for local authorities to invest in, and improve, the quality and range of provision for children and young people with Special Education Needs (SEN) and Disabilities aged 0 to 25.

Cheshire West and Chester has been allocated £180,459 of funding each year for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 – a total of £541,376 - from this capital fund.

We can invest this funding to help children and young people with education, health and care plans to get a high quality education. It can used in mainstream schools, including academies, free schools, special units, special schools, early years settings, further education colleges or other provision for children and young people aged from 0-25.

The Council was asked to consult with parent and carers, schools, settings and others on how this funding allocation should be used and we did an initial consultation last year.

The funding cannot be spent on Higher Education, provision for those aged 25 and over, anything that would be classed as revenue expenditure (like furniture, whiteboards. training or staff costs), equipment for individuals or any "reasonable adjustment" accessibility works (such as ramps or door widening; a hoist in a toilet would be considered to be a ‘reasonable adjustment’ but a hoist to enable access to a hydro-therapy pool might be eligible) or maintenance work (such as window or boiler replacement).

In addition to the above we also have a small revenue grant totalling £130,000 called the High Needs Strategic Planning Grant. This grant is to support the review of planning of local education provision for learners with high needs.  The focus of the review was agreed to be: 

  • Post 16 provision;
  • Review of the profile of special schools and resource provision; and
  • To improve inclusion in mainstream schools.

 We had previously advised that if this review brings out priorities for capital spend they will be consulted on as part of this process. The outcome of this review is not expected until later this year and therefore we’re unable to consult on this aspect until Spring 2019.

Survey responses

In December 2017 we consulted on a range of themes to help us to determine where

to target the capital funding and below is a summary of the responses received to the December 2017 consultation.

118 respondents completed (or partially completed) the parent/carer/young people’s (PCYP) survey of these 8 were young people. Based on those who told us their postcodes the split between those living in the East and West of the Borough was roughly 50:50.

Based on those responded to each question, the main themes emerging from the PCYP survey were:

  • Respondents ranked the following statements at the three most important:-
  1. Children with an EHCP can have their needs met in the special school that best meets their needs.
  2. As many children with an EHCP as possible can have their needs met in a mainstream school that is specially resourced to meet their needs.
  3. Children with an EHCP can have their needs met in a special school close to their home.
  • Respondents felt that the top 3 facilities missing in current settings are:-
  1. Specialist Learning Spaces
  2. Withdrawal Spaces
  3. Personal Learning Spaces
  • Examples were also given about a general lack of space, a lack of quiet/personal learning/sensory spaces for students with ASD and a lack of outside facilities.
  • Most respondents wish to see the funding spread across a larger number of projects in Cheshire West or to be brought into the wider education programme where it will benefit specialist provision.
  • Most respondents (76% of those who answered the question) agreed that the survey focussed on the right areas.  
  • The need for greater inclusion in both mainstream schools and Post-16 settings was a recurring theme throughout the survey. One response from a young person stated “I want to attend college but my anxiety is too bad.”
  • Many of the responses were not related to capital requirements but to training needs for school staff which unfortunately we are not able to address as part of this process.   

26 respondents completed, or partially completed, the schools and settings (SS) survey.

Based on those responded to each question, the main themes emerging from the SS survey were:

  • Respondents ranked the following statements at the three most important:-
  1. As many children with an EHCP as possible can have their needs met in a local mainstream school (equal first)
  2. Children with an EHCP can have their needs met in the special school that best meets their needs (equal first).
  3. Children with an EHCP can have their needs met in a special school close to their home.
  • Respondents felt that the top 3 facilities missing in current settings are:-
  1. Specialist Learning Spaces
  2. Social/communal areas
  3. Withdrawal Spaces
  • Examples were also given about a general lack of space and comments were made about post-16 provision.
  • Most respondents wish to see the funding targeted on one or two projects in Cheshire West.
  • Most respondents (83% of those who answered the question) agreed that the survey focussed on the right areas. 

Based on the above responses and to ensure priorities are linked to the Strategic Review we are proposing that we consult on some specific projects.

Please complete the survey below to tell us what you think about these proposals.

http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SENDCapitalConsultation/

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