SEN Provision Plan
This section provides information on London Borough of Merton's SEN provision planning from 2018 to 2021 and the Department for Education’s Special Provision Capital Fund
In Merton the Local Authority's aspirations for children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities are as ambitious as for all children and young people:
- that children can attend provision close to where they live
- That they achieve well in their local early years, schools and college settings
- that children and young people can build relationships and friendships with their peers in their local community.
- That there is a sufficient range and choice of provision locally that meets children’s educational outcomes
- That there is seamless transition from local education into independent living
While most children and young people in Merton attend mainstream schools without the need for additional support, a growing number have an EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan). This has grown from 1075 children and young people in January 2016 to 1712 in January 2019. About 45% of this growth has been for young people over the age of 16 due to the new statutory requirement to retain EHCPs up to the age of 25, but the remainder of the growth is in statutory school age.
All provision types have provided for the additional children with EHCPs, and the council has been expanding Perseid and Cricket Green Schools. However, there has been a greater proportional increase in the most expensive Independent School placements, many of which mean SEND children travelling greater distances. To meet our aspirations Merton is therefore using its DfE Special Provision Capital Grant and further funding to provide additional local state school places.
By formula, the Department for Education is providing capital grant to Local Authorities for the “special provision fund” in the financial years 2018-19 to 2020-21. These allocations are primarily intended to support local authorities to create new places and develop provision for pupils with more complex special educational needs in mainstream and/or special schools.
Merton Council’s allocation for 2018-19 to 2020-21 is £2,502,866. See the LB Merton Special Provision template document for the council’s intended use of the grant.
The Local Authority’s first priority has been to provide additional local provision through the expansion of its existing “Outstanding” special schools - the council has recently completed the expansion of the upper school of Perseid School (for children with severe and complex learning difficulties) following previous phases of expansion, and is presently expanding Cricket Green School (for children with additional complex and varied needs) by a further 61 spaces.
The additional places will start to be provided from September 2019. Works will also shortly commence in summer 2019 at Stanford Primary School to provide an ASD base, with places starting to become available in early 2020. The council is needing to spend substantially more than the DfE grant over the next three years to meet these requirements.
As part of its High Needs assessment council officers have reviewed placements made into the independent sector over the past 5 years and current trends, and identified gaps where it is reasonable for the council to provide additional provision. As a result the following additional provision is planned and at the early feasibility/options appraisal stage:
- Melrose School (SEMH – Social, Emotional and Mental Health) – expansion and change of age range to provide primary age annex
- Secondary age medical needs provision
- Additional ASD provision
Consultation will be undertaken when these proposals have been developed further.