Consultation is underway in Leeds on plans for a new special free school and additional specialist places for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
There are five Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres (SILCs) in Leeds and the demand for places is greater than availability. Pupils are admitted to specialist provision through their education, health and care plan assessments.
The first proposal is a permanent expansion of East SILC – John Jamieson school by 150 places. This would be delivered from 2020 using two additional sites; Oakwood building and the former Shakespeare primary school.The Oakwood building is located on Oakwood Lane next to the Fearnville Leisure Centre and is currently operating as a primary specialist provision which is due to relocate from September 2019. The former Shakespeare Primary school building is located on Stoney Rock Lane in Burmantofts.
The second proposal being consulted on is the creation of a new 200-place special free school on the former Elmete Wood SILC site from 2022. This proposal is linked to the recent Department for Education announcement that Leeds City Council has been successful in its Wave 2 bid to establish a new special free school.
The proposed new special free school would be established as an academy (free school) and therefore would not be maintained by the local authority. Leeds City Council are currently seeking academy trusts interested in making an application to sponsor the new school.
Leeds City Council executive member for learning, skills and employment Councillor Jonathan Pryor said:
“The birth rate in Leeds has been rising for several years and the number of children and young people, including those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) has increased. Education is an incredibly important part of our ambition for Leeds to be the best city to live and grow up in.
"Current projections indicate that there is a potential need of around 200 additional specialist school places each academic year from now to 2022/23. We are looking to meet demand for specialist school places in line with our wider SEND strategy in the local communities where need is highest. The proposed introduction of a new special free school and additional places in east Leeds will help with this.
“It is really important that people tell us what they think and so I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation.”
The consultation runs until Wednesday 24 July. For more information and to take part in the consultation go to www.leeds.gov.uk/schoolplaceconsultations.
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