‘Neglected’ Bristol special schools set for funding boost

School class generic Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elmfield School for Deaf Children and Claremont Special School would be improved under the plans

Plans to spend almost £30m on improving “neglected” special schools in Bristol have been approved by council bosses.

The proposals will see current schools upgraded and more places made available for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Bristol City Council backed plans to spend £28.7m on the improvements – subject to a consultation in the autumn – at a cabinet meeting earlier.

Currently, 190 children who need places cannot be accommodated.

The council was accused in November of “failing to plan” for SEND pupils and Ofsted said the city’s performance in this area was not fit for purpose.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elmfield School for Deaf Children and Claremont Special School would be improved under the plans

In 2018, the council was forced to restore £5m to its SEND budget after it lost a High Court case against parents who challenged its decision to cut the funding.

Cabinet member for schools Anna Keen said the council had been “upfront” about previous failings and improvements had been made.

“It has been neglected for years and we’ve been upfront about that and putting it right.”

‘Buildings concerning’

She also acknowledged the “strain” on families and pupils who need to leave the city to attend school and added:

“When I visited these schools I was bowled over, but the buildings are concerning and don’t reflect the talent of the children or staff.”

Cabinet members approved £15.6m of council funding towards the cost of the project on Tuesday, and will discuss funding options with the Department for Education for the remaining £13.1m.

The plans include the creation of residential accommodation to support people of school-leaving age who need additional support with living.

Known as Project Rainbow, the independent living centre would provide an additional 14 beds for young adults at the Ashley Down Campus.

Elmfield School for Deaf Children and Claremont Special School would also undergo “significant redevelopment” and improved provision made for SEND pupils at mainstream schools.

Back to: Home Bristol News

You may also like...