Surrey County Council is pleased to announce the creation of 230 new specialist school places for September 2023 for Surrey’s children with additional needs and disabilities.
The creation of additional school places has been carried out through the successful delivery of 40 construction projects in schools across Surrey. The building projects included the expansion of existing specialist schools and existing Special Educational Needs (SEN) Units in mainstream schools, the construction of new specialist free schools, and the creation of new SEN Units in mainstream schools.
These projects are a part of Surrey County Council’s £260m Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Alternative Provision Capital Programme investment to improve the long-term sufficiency of state-maintained specialist educational provision across Surrey, and in turn the experiences of Surrey children. The Council is committed to ensuring that children and young people who have additional needs and disabilities (AND) and require a specialist school placement can have their education needs met closer to home and within state-maintained provision wherever possible. The creation of these new specialist school places will support the Council in delivering this commitment, providing more Surrey young people with additional needs and disabilities with the opportunity to be educated within their own local community.
Surrey County Council’s ambitious Capital Programme aims to deliver 2,440 permanent additional specialist school places in Surrey between 2019 – 2026 to create capacity for 5,760 planned places by 2030/31.
Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Lifelong Learning said: “The location of these new school places means that Surrey families will have high quality specialist school provision close to where they are, which enables children and young people with additional needs and disabilities to achieve healthy, independent, and fulfilling lives.
“These additional places are part of the Council’s committed investment to increase Surrey’s estate to 5,760 places overall by 2030 to improve the long-term sufficiency of state-maintained specialist educational provision that meets the needs of communities across the county now and in the future.”
As of the 2023/24 academic year, accommodation for around 917 new specialist school places has been delivered across Surrey at a cost of £41m since the beginning of the programme. As a result of this investment, the planned phasing of places and growth plans agreed with individual schools and Trusts, and where additional places have been commissioned to meet additional local needs, Surrey’s state-maintained specialist education estate has been increased from around 3,320 in 2019 – when the Capital Programme started – to around 4,237 places now.
The programme remains on track to complete the remaining 7 projects planned for 2023/24 in the Spring term.
The next phase of Capital delivery in 2024/25 consists of major and medium new build extensions of existing specialist schools which are already in contract, a new specialist free school for autistic children, and two new secondary age SEN Units in mainstream schools for autistic children. Along with the phasing in of additional places from projects delivered in previous years, the programme will create approximately 240 new specialist school places for September 2024. Additional places from these schemes will become available between 2025-2028 in line with growth plans agreed with individual schools. This is because schools need to build their staffing capacity to support the new places.
[Epsom’s Pound Lane Primary School is one of the Surrey state schools sharing the 85 new Mainstream SEN Unit places available as of September 2023.]