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 (SEND) 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 2252 in January 2021. While some 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, much has been growth 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 use of the grant, which is unchanged to that planned in 2019.
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 has recently expanded Cricket Green School (for children with additional complex and varied needs) by a further 61 spaces.
The additional places started to be provided from September 2019 and the capital project was fully completed in summer 2020. Works also completed in early 2020 at Stanford Primary School to provide an ASD base
From 2021/22, Government is providing funding to councils for SEND and High Needs though the “High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA)” grant. For 2021/22 Merton Council’s allocation is £2,192,305. This is being allocated for the project to expand capacity and age range for Melrose School (provision for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs from 45 to 78 places.
The council is also planning the following expansion projects to be funded from local resources and/or future grant allocations:
- secondary age medical needs provision expansion
- expansion of Melrose School into Whatley Avenue SW20 and extension of designation to include ASD provision (statutory consultation undertaken in July 2021)