Plans for new special needs school in Notts 'getting closer'

Plans for a new school for children with special educational needs and disabilities in either Ollerton or Hucknall have moved to the next stage.

A new £150,000 feasibility study to identify a site in the to build a new 75-place special school, which will include specialist provision for those with disabilities, got the go ahead at a recent Nottinghamshire County Council Policy Committee



Since 2010, young people with special educational needs has doubled across the county – almost twice as much as the national 55 per cent increase.

These increases are mainly attributable to a significant change to the national criteria for special educational needs assessments including an increase to the upper age limit from 18 to include 18 to 25-year olds.

If the current trend continues, by January 2023 there is estimated be more than 4,000 young people with educational needs in Nottinghamshire.

Growing demand has also led to an increase in commissioning places in the independent sector. Currently, there are over 450 children and young people with special educational needs being educated in this way across the county.

As the cost of these placements has increased by 50 per cent since 2015, plans for a new, local specialist school in one of the proposed areas aims to bring potential savings.

Additional benefits include saving time for some of the young people and parents who are currently travelling to independent placements based across the county.

Councillor Kay Cutts, Nottinghamshire County Council leader, said : "Since 2015, the county council has increased investment on special needs schools.

"This includes £2.9m at Ash Lea Special School in Cotgrave and is currently investing £16.4m to help rebuild and expand the Newark Orchard Special School which will initially create 40 new specialist placements.

"The new school planned in either Hucknall or Ollerton aims to help further address the growing demand to provide more specialist school places in the county.

"Data has identified that these two areas have the greatest need for this investment.

"Being able to fully meet the educational needs of all young people is clearly a priority for the county council, so it is vital to move these plans on to the next stage and avoid any unnecessary delays to the creation of a new specialist school."