There are currently 4,181 children and young people identified with SEND in Portsmouth schools (January School Census 2018). Children who have been identified with SEND and who are on SEN Support will be placed in a mainstream school and are therefore included in the primary and secondary school place strategies.
In June 2017 Portsmouth City Council was funded by the DfE to undertake a strategic review of SEND provision. This review was completed in March 2018 and its findings are being considered within the SEND Provision Place Strategy, due to be published in autumn 2018.
The review also made some predictions with regard to future need which need to be considered within a strategy for the provision of specialist places, namely:
- The numbers of pupils requiring an EHCP is expected to, at least, increase in line with population increases, therefore remaining at 3.3%, or will hopefully return back to previous level of 3.1% and then plateau. Forecasts have been based on the upper limit of 3.3%
- The numbers of young people with an EHCP Post 16 and Post 19 is likely to increase
- The prevalence of children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and very complex needs is likely to increase
- The numbers of children with autism and SEMH are likely to continue to increase (even though the numbers of children with SEMH are already above national) due to an increase in awareness, identification and possibly prevalence.
Of particular relevance to this strategy is the increase in the number of children with complex needs who will require specialist provision.
The Council is working with Redwood Park Academy and Cliffdale Primary Academy (Solent Academies Trust) to ensure that the two schools can take more complex cohorts of pupils whilst at the same time the Council works with mainstream schools to develop a more inclusive mainstream education. A smaller project is also underway at the Willows Centre for Children. These projects require remodelling of the accommodation.
A new school building for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs will open in October 2018, at the former Vanguard Centre in Sundridge Close, Cosham. The Harbour School educates children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. Refurbishment of the former Vanguard Centre will provide appropriate, specialist accommodation for a wide range of vocational subjects and will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of Key Stage 4 pupils. This can have a positive effect in preparing the pupils for further education and employment.
The scheme will provide vocational teaching spaces for the following subjects: Mechanics; Hair & Beauty; Catering; Construction; Animal Care, and general teaching spaces for English, maths, art etc.
The Council has also made a successful bid for government funding to build a new special free school on the site of the former Wymering Community Centre. The new special school academy will help meet the needs of our growing school population and specifically cater for children with autism/social communication difficulties and associated challenging behaviour and sensory needs. These children need more specialist support and interventions than mainstream schools provide and there is a need for this type of specialist provision in the city. Scheduled to open in September 2021, it will offer 40 places; 8 places for junior school aged pupils and 32 places for secondary pupils.