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Increase in special needs pupils in Rutland

There has been a steep rise in the number of children with special educational needs in Rutland, according to a report.

The number of children with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), has increased from 314 in January 2023, to 342 in February 2024.

The EHCP describes the special education needs someone up to the age of 25 has, the support they require, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.

Rutland County Council's Schools' Forum
Rutland County Council's Schools' Forum

The ‘Delivering Better Value (DVB) Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)’ report outlines savings that can be made.

Members of the Rutland County Council schools forum heard from SEND improvement programme manager Kulwinder Bola at their meeting on Thursday (May 9), who said the population of Rutland has grown by nearly 10% in the past decade, from 37,400 in 2011, to 41,000 in 2021.

She added: “This is considerably higher than the overall increase for England (6.6%), and this is particularly significant for a small local authority such as ours because of the knock-on effect on our SEND needs and funding."

Numbers of children with healthcare plans for SEND are increasing
Numbers of children with healthcare plans for SEND are increasing

“Delivering best value is about trying to ensure that we keep our young people within our home community, and enable them to learn within their local schools.”

Rutland's deficit was anticipated to be £2.3 million at the end of 2023/24.

Even with proposed savings of £737,000 in 2024/25, the expected deficit in funding remains, and the accumulated deficit – if figures continue to rise in the way that they have – is expected to be £16.9 million by 2029/30.

Rutland County Council is one of 55 authorities taking part in analysis of local trends, predicting future demand for SEND support, and best use of available funding.

It voted recently to close The Parks, a special needs nursery based at Oakham CE Primary School in Burley Road.

Campaigners to 'Save The Parks School' have raised £5,000 to legally challenge the council over the decision.

The next meeting of the council's schools forum is in September.

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