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Approval for two year programme supporting children

Posted on Wednesday 17th January 2024

The contract extension has been approved for two years at a cost of £3.6 million.

Proposals to extend overnight residential accommodation for children with special education needs and disabilities have been approved.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet today approved a two-year contract extension running to July 2026 at a cost of £3.6 million.

The current agreement for the non-statutory provision was due to expire this summer but the council backed its extension after reviewing the service, which is provided at five of Staffordshire County Council’s 23 special schools.

Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Education and SEND, said:

Parents, carers and schools were quite clear about the value of this provision to those who can use it.

I think the challenge for the schools now is to consider how can we broaden access so that as many children as possible can benefit from it.”

The five schools providing overnight residential accommodation are Cicely Haughton, at Wetley Rocks; Horton Lodge at Rudyard; Loxley Hall School, near Uttoxeter; Saxon Hill Academy, Lichfield; and Walton Hall Academy, near Eccleshall.

The opportunities provided are not respite care and they are not part of any child’s Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), so are classed as additional provision rather than an integral part of a child’s education.

Currently around 6,000 children in Staffordshire have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), which provides each one with a personal education plan which is reviewed annually.

Jonathan Price added:

Because of its cost and the fact the council voluntarily chooses to provide the service when many other authorities do not, it’s right that we review the service periodically to make sure it is providing what is needed.

The challenge remains how we can ensure eligible children from around the county with SEND can access activities and learning opportunities outside school hours on a fair footing.”

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