Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To agree to the establishment of a 15 place SRP at Copperfield Academy, for the September 2022 intake.
Reason for the Decision:
The proposal establishes a 15 place Special Resource Provision for children for whom speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) is the primary barrier to achieving their full potential. This is a new provision offering additional places from September 2022.
KCC, as the Local Authority (LA), has a statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places are available. This duty applies to Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, as well as mainstream settings. The County Council’s Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2022-26 is a five-year rolling plan which is updated annually. It sets out KCC’s future plans as Strategic Commissioner of Education Provision across all types and phases of education in Kent. A copy of the plan can be viewed from this link:
The Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent highlights the SEN place pressure that Kent has experienced, with the number of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) increasing significantly in recent years. A key area of demand is providing support for students who have speech, language and communication needs as their primary barrier to achieving their potential.
The demand for Speech and Language places across the North Kent Area has increased with strong parental preference towards places at Special Schools and significant house building in the area. Even though much is being done in Kent to reduce children’s need for ever increasing numbers of EHCPs and place a greater proportion of young people in mainstream provision, the demand for dedicated SEN places is not forecast to reduce in the near or medium future.
Copperfield Academy is a primary school with a strong local focus, offering places to children I the Northfleet and West Gravesend area. The school is operated by the Reach2 Academy Trust. It was assessed by Ofsted to be a ‘Good’ school in May 2021.
Due to the availability of accommodation, and the willingness of the school to establish a provision, no alternative has been considered.
There have been studies undertaken into alternatives to create new Special School provision. A review is currently underway to assess the future pathways for SEN provision, but this proposal can be assessed independently due to the immediate availability of accommodation.
If the proposal does not proceed, Kent County Council will find it difficult to provide sufficient local special school places in the North Kent Area.
As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, I agree to the establishment of a 15 place SRP at Copperfield Academy, for the September 2022 intake.
Publication date: 02/08/2022
Date of decision: 02/08/2022
Effective from: 10/08/2022