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SEND: Herts County Council plans new support for children with special educational needs and disabilities

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Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) has reinforced its commitment to ensuring that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get the specialist support they need.

In the last three years there has been a 37% increase in pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans – a legally-binding document that outlines a child's special educational, health and social care needs.

On Monday May 23, County Hall's cabinet agreed to consult on proposals to create nine primary specialist resource provisions (SRPs) across Hertfordshire, including one in Bishop's Stortford – but not for another 15 months.

If approved, six SRPs are expected to open from September 2023 and two more in 2024, with a ninth site still to be identified.

Cllr Terry Douris, Herts' cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: "These SRPs will be created as centres of excellence and will work alongside the already-approved four SRPs which will open in our secondary schools this year and next."

Consultations will begin in June to seek views on the plans, which include Avanti Brook in Stortford. The primary school, yet to be built, is part of the educational provision for more than 2,600 new homes at Stortford Fields and St Michael's Hurst.

Cllr Terry Douris is Herts County Council's cabinet member for education and lifelong learning
Cllr Terry Douris is Herts County Council's cabinet member for education and lifelong learning

Avanti Meadows primary is already open at a site off Farnham Road and the first secondary students of Avanti Grange will be taught there too for a year from September while its new campus straddling the A120 bypass is constructed.

Councillors heard that many children and young people are currently provided for by a pattern of speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) bases attached to mainstream schools.

But with many now having a broader and more complex level of need, including autism and social communication difficulties, creating SRPs at mainstream schools will enable these pupils to access a mainstream curriculum.

Cllr Douris added: "We want all children and young people, whatever their need, to be able to attend a good school that helps them thrive while providing the support they need.

"SEND is really important to us and we are committed to investing in this area to support children, young people and their parents."

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