Schools for first 10 new SEND units announced - here’s the list

Copleston High School will be one of the first 10 to have a specialist unit open in September 2020.

Copleston High School will be one of the first 10 to have a specialist unit open in September 2020. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The first 10 new specialist units under £45 million plans to boost special educational needs in Suffolk have been announced.

Mary Evans said she was delighted with the interest already shown by schools. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mary Evans said she was delighted with the interest already shown by schools. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk County Council unveiled a £45.1m programme in January to build three new special schools and create 36 specialist units attached to mainstream schools, as part of measures to address soaring demand.

The project had aimed to create 828 new special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) places but it is understood the interest shown by schools will now enable the council to deliver around 870 places.

On Friday, the council announced the first 10 units which will join existing schools, totalling 168 spaces, that will open in September 2020.

The new units will be at:

- Pipers Vale Primary Academy, Ipswich (Key Stage 1)

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- Burton End Primary Academy (KS1)

- Murrayfield Primary Academy, Ipswich (communication and interaction needs KS2)

Jack Abbott. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Jack Abbott. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

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- Houldsworth Valley Primary Academy (communication and interaction needs KS2

- Causton Junior School (communication and interaction needs KS2)

- Copleston High School, Ipswich (communication and interaction needs KS3/4)

- Ixworth School (communication and interaction needs KS3/4)

- Newmarket Academy (community and interaction needs KS3/4)

- Clements Primary Academy, Haverhill (cognition and learning needs KS2)

- Castle Manor Academy, Haverhill (cognition and learning needs KS3/4)

Councillor Mary Evans, Conservative cabinet member for education, said: "We are delighted with the interest shown by our mainstream schools and would like to thank all those who came forward wanting to work in partnership to deliver this provision.

"If you are a mainstream school that would like to become involved or would like further information there is still time.

"Regular updates will follow as we continue to work hard in the delivery of our capital programme across the next five years, resulting in an additional 870 specialist places."

Those schools are now working with the council to ensure the provision is ready for September 2020.

The next round of commissioning is set to take place in spring 2020.

A spokesman from Suffolk Parent Carer Network, which works with parents and has been a key campaigner for new places, said: "The development of new specialist education placements is something that SPCN continue to be involved in at all stages, with the parent carer voice and feedback we have received being an integral part of the specialist unit provision process.

"To see so many providers coming forward saying they want to be part of the solution gives us real hope that we are now on our way to having an education offer that meets the needs of Suffolk's most vulnerable learners and we look forward to working alongside all partners in the future developments of the capital programme."

Councillor Jack Abbott, education spokesman for the Labour group, said: "It is encouraging that our cross-party recommendations have started being implemented. These new places will make a huge difference to children's lives and finally deliver the special educational needs provision that Suffolk so desperately requires.

"However, huge swathes of the county will miss out on this first wave of new provision - we need to end the postcode lottery that currently exists, not entrench it. It must be ensured that no child in Suffolk is left behind and is able to access an appropriate education setting close to home.

"Today's announcement signals an important step in the right direction, but there is a lot of work still to do."

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