Released: 4 February, 2020
West Sussex has seen a rise in the number of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) over the last five years in line with national figures. The Council has identified areas where there is growing demand and is looking to invest over £9m over the next three years to create additional special support centres (SSCs) in schools.
Work is ongoing with a number of schools in these locations to explore options for creating additional specialist places. The centres provide specialist support for pupils with a range of social and communication needs and at the same time give them access to the range of educational experiences available in a mainstream school.
West Sussex currently has a number of SSCs and these plans seek to complement this existing offer.
Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “I welcome this consultation exploring the next phase of this important project, which will allow more children with special educational needs to go to school nearer to where they live, reducing long distances some have to travel.
“Some children’s needs mean a specialist school setting is right for them, and that will of course continue. But for others, a mainstream school with the resources to support and nurture them will help individuals to achieve their potential.
“The earlier a child’s additional needs are identified the earlier they can be supported and the better their outcomes. I welcome people taking part in this important consultation.”
Improving specialist provision in mainstream education forms part of the new SEND and Inclusion Strategy 2019-2024, which has been co-produced by parent-carers, professionals and young people. It sets out how the County Council will support the inclusion of all children and young people, especially those with SEND.