The two proposals suggest increasing capacity in the council’s current SEND and Educational Psychology services and recommend a significant capital investment programme to help improve special schools.
If approved, the proposals are intended to enable the council to deliver more of the services needed to help meet its statutory requirements, relieving pressure on the current system and providing better outcomes for families and carers with children and young people with SEND.
Over £14m is earmarked for Kingsweston Special School, Knowle DGE, Claremont and Elmfield, which would see improvements in the schools’ buildings and structures, enhancing the education experience for students and increasing capacity.
Improvements outlined include the appointment of 18 SEND staff - more than half of which are new, dedicated SEND Case Workers and Education Psychologists.
Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said she welcomed the proposals and acknowledged that more needed to be done to address current issues in SEND provision.
She said: “These proposals are an important and significant step in our long-term plan to improve the services in Bristol for families and carers of children and young people with SEND.
“As a parent and teacher myself, I am acutely aware that we have not been providing the level of service that families need and deserve, but we are determined to make this right - these proposals lay the foundations for our new approach.
“As well as the increased resources and investment outlined in the proposals to Cabinet, we are also drafting a new SEND strategy, an Action Plan which shows how we will improve SEND service delivery and will soon be relaunching an improved Local Offer website for parents and carers.
“We are working on long-term, sustainable solutions to address the issues in our current SEND activities. We are not responsible for the level of funding available to Bristol’s children with SEND. We stand united with local families and schools in highlighting the national funding shortage and will continue to make the case to the government.”
Developed with the Bristol Parent Carer Forum, the proposals are wide-ranging, addressing issues across multiple areas of the current SEND provision.
Cabinet will consider the options to increase resourcing for SEND provision and the Education Capital Programme on 2 July.
You can find out more about Bristol City Council’s SEND services via the Local Offer website.