Close to £2m is to be spent on three projects in Nottingham schools to improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The funding, which totals £1.925m and comes from the High Needs Provision Capital Grant from Government for 2022/23 and 2023/24, will allow children to be supported in local two primary schools. A further six pupils with more complex needs will join Nethergate Academy Special School.

It was formally approved at this afternoon’s meeting of Nottingham City Council’s Executive Board, where wider grants of £7.2m and £8.1m were also accepted for 2022/23 and 2023/24 respectively to pay for these projects.

The three schemes identified support the aims of the council’s draft SEND Strategy, which has been consulted on and is in the process of being ratified.

The funding will pay for focused projects at Djanogly Strelley Academy and Whitemoor Primary Academy, where SEND pupils are at mainstream schools, and the third programme at Nethergate.

Councillors today formally agreed to:

  • Accept the High Needs Provision Capital Grant for 2022/23 and 2023/24 of £7,297,332 and £8,115,624 respectively, which will be combined with the 2021/22 award to fund the SEND Strategy when finalised;
  • Approve the funding of the three Nottingham schemes, which have been identified as high priorities and will provide additional places for pupils;
  • Approve the use of a maximum of 75 per cent or the sum £500,000, whichever is greater, from the capital receipt of the Thorneywood site sale;
  • Approve a contingency fund of £375,000 across the three projects;
  • Authorise the procurement of any necessary contracts to carry out the schemes.

The £400,000 works at Nethergate Academy will refurbish and reconfigure an existing

building to provide a new base for six autistic pupils aged between seven and ten years old.

The project at Djanogly Strelley Primary Academy, an area of the city with one of the highest demands for SEND provision, will support 16 pupils and will also cost £400,000, with additional funding coming through contributions from developers known as Section 106 agreements. It will allow children to be supported in their own community rather than having to travel to another site in Nottingham.

The works at Whitemoor Primary Academy will increase capacity to meet the needs of SEND children, while providing more support for other high-needs pupils. It will cost £750,000 initially which will come from the High Needs budget, but a proportion of the income of the Thorneywood site sale will also be used.

Councillor Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education, said: “We want our schools to be inclusive and understand the need for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities to remain with their peers wherever possible. This provides continuity and stability for them and their families, while ensuring they remain with their classmates and friends.

“The plans for Nethergate are slightly different in that they will further increase capacity at one of the city’s dedicated special schools.

“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to approve this important funding today and I look forward to seeing these projects evolve in the coming months to support all Nottingham children in their education journeys.”