A council consultation has started on proposals to add two classrooms to a Milton Keynes school as the borough faces running out of room for a rising number of children with special needs.
Milton Keynes Council is spending £3.2million in a three-pronged strategy to both increase the number of children included in mainstream schools, and on refocusing specialist provision.
The third prong of the council’s strategy is to increase the number of pupils at Romans Field School, in Shenley Road, Bletchley, because it has room in its grounds for extra classrooms to be built where other schools do not.
Romans Field School is currently oversubscribed, with 57 pupils on the roll despite only having 50 official places, the council says.
Now the council , in a consultation lasting until May 9, wants to expand this number of places by 16 to 66.
The school is concentrating on children with social emotional and mental health needs and complex needs including autism.
The council has to strictly follow a five stage process before it can make the changes to the community special school for children with social emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.
This “informal” consultation is the first stage in that process.
“There is a high demand for special school places across Milton Keynes, with a number of special schools in Milton Keynes already at capacity or oversubscribed,” says Caroline Marriott, the council’s head of special educational needs and disabilities.
“This proposal will make an important contribution to the projected additional 62 special school places (that) will need to be developed over the next two and a half years in order for the right provision to be available to children and young people with special educational needs.”
She also says that the council is monitoring demand for places on a month by month basis as the number of children with Education Health and Care (EHC) plans is increasing.
The council is forecasting that by 2022 it will need to provide 948 special school spaces, out of a total school population of 52,690.
Two public events have been planned when parents and the community can find out more.
These will both be at Romans Field School:
March 20 from 9.00am to 10.00am.
April 22 from 3.30pm to 5.00pm.
The consultation findings will be considered by the council in June when a decision will be made on starting a four week statutory consultation period.
If the proposal is agreed a building project will commence with the intention of the additional places being available at the school from September 2020. The school already has planning permission for the new classrooms.
The consultation can be seen and commented on at www.miltonkeynes.gov.uk./consultations