Special Educational Needs

70%+ don’t support Special Educational Needs proposals, resulting in little change to school places. What was the point?

In November 2017 the Council issued a consultation document on the strategy for Special Education Needs (SEN) children. Whilst the plan maintained annual funding, which is substantial at £55m pa, there were significant changes proposed to the placements in mainstream schools, and the Enhanced Resource Centres. The school that was most affected was Brackensdale Primary School ; this was covered by Derby News, at the time.

Council’s Vision on Special Needs Education is blind to Brackensdale School’s success

In summary, Brackensdale Primary has been successful in offering SEN support in a mainstream setting for 37 children ; this will be removed and re-allocated elsewhere in the City. The more focussed Enhanced Resource Provision will be reduced from 30 to 28.

Extract from the original consultation

Despite over 70% of the respondents stating that they opposed the changes, including groups representative of parents, the new report, being presented to Cabinet on 10th October,  does not make substantial changes from the original proposal.

In the case of Brackensdale, there are no changes!


Extract from new proposal ( Note: starting position of 57 is incorrect – it should read 67) – overall reduction of 39 places.

What changes have been made since the original proposal?

  1. The proposal to make 14 places for autistic children in Meadow Farm Primary has been rejected in favour of Bemrose Primary
  2. The provision for children with learning difficulties in Alvaston Junior and Lees Brook will be subject to further consideration.

Full details of all placement moves – CLICK on the picture


In a public meeting last November many parents from Brackensdale expressed great concerns about the strategy. It seems that the overall proposal makes most sense to the Council Officers involved and provides an elegant mathematical solution, rather than one that responds to those who have daily experience of children with SEN.

Making changes to accommodate the growth in children with Special Needs is essential. However, as the Council often have a more adversarial relationship with parents of SEN children, particularly where needs are high, and potentially expensive, there is always going to be some scepticism and caution over change.

Parents might be more accepting of new options if they thought that there were realistic and practical routes, within the Council,  for them to get satisfactory resolution of their specific concerns. Unfortunately, as the overwhelming, majority of respondents seem to have been ignored then it is to be expected that their scepticism will continue unabated. and they will be asking themselves – “What was the point?”


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