Latest data on specialist school places

SNAP PCF have contacted us to ask what information was included for the BBC Look East and BBC Three Counties Radio reports aired on Monday 4 September as some parents had contacted them to raise concerns about the data included within this report. The BBC only partially reported the full dataset we provided. The full data is provided below.  Further information about our updated Special places plan is being taken to Overview and Scrutiny Committee in October.  The updated plan will be published on the Local Offer.

Currently, 3,321 children and young people in Central Bedfordshire have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). 

250 children and young people with EHCPs attend schools out of our area (includes mainstream and special schools), this is normal practice and takes account of parental preference and also where children live. These placements are often the most local provision.

The number of children with EHCPs currently waiting for a school place at the start of September 2023 is 9.

We have 11 children currently supported in mainstream school while they wait for their special school place. 

Increasing provision:

Local authorities are required to keep their special places under regular review.  We review our plans on a very regular basis to ensure that we are developing the right type of provision as well as having sufficient specialist places in our ARPs and Special schools.  Our updated Special Places Plan will be going to our Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee in October.

Over the last 2 years, we have created an additional 141 specialist places - 35 places in Additionally Resourced Provisions (ARPs) and 107 places in our special schools. 

Places for September 2023, we have provided 83 additional places to children who were in mainstream schools requiring specialist school placements, the details of these are provided below:

  • 29 places have been created by expanding Additionally Resourced Provisions (ARPs) at Samuel Whitbread, Arnold Academy and Lancot schools and two new resourced provisions have opened at The Vale and Rushmere Schools 
  • 10 are newly created places at Ivel Valley Special School
  • 10 are newly created places through capital works we are doing at Weatherfield Special School 
  • 34 are newly created places through capital works we are doing at The Chiltern Special School.

Future plans: 

In total, we have plans to create 501 new specialist places by September 2026 (136 ARP places and 365 special school places) including: 

  • we are completing the expansion at The Chiltern Special School creating a further 60 places by September 2024 
  • relocating Ivel Valley Special School to a new site and creating an additional 55 places 
  • we have early plans to create another 120 places at Weatherfield Special School 
  • we hope to be opening an SEMH Free school for 130 places with the DfE in 2026. |