Local authorities must ensure there are sufficient good school places for all children and young people, including those with SEN and disabilities.
In March 2017, the Government committed £215 million of capital funding from 2018 to 2021 to help local authorities create new school places and improve existing facilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, in consultation with parents and providers. In May 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a £50 million increase to this fund, and in December 2018 a further £100 million to local authorities, taking the total investment in this fund to £365 million.
This capital funding is not ring-fenced and local authorities can use it as they see fit to improve special provision for children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans. The DfE expects that local authorities will seek to use this funding in a way that helps them manage the cost pressures on their high needs revenue budgets.
This funding can be invested in mainstream schools and academies, special units, special schools and academies, early years settings, and further education colleges, or to make other provision for children and young people aged from 0 to 25.
Key conditions of the grant is that the local authorities must consult with a range of stakeholders, including children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, their families and those who support them and publish their plans on their Local Offer.
The County Council undertook a consultation on High Needs in January 2019, and as a result of the consultation the Special Provision Capital Grant will be used to fund over the next two years: £253,000 SEND adaptations to academy buildings and £1,560,000 to fund the capital costs of piloting three secondary mainstream enhanced provisions and piloting two special schools hubs. These pilots will focus on meeting the needs of pupils with social emotional mental health needs who would otherwise be at risk of permanent exclusion and/or placements in alternative high cost provisions, sometimes far from where they live.
Documentation relating to the 2019 consultation and the Nottinghamshire County Council Special Provision Capital Grant Plan can be found under downloads on this page.