Introduction

The special provision fund allocations announced on 4 March 2017 were to support local authorities (LAs) to make capital investments in provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

Local authorities could invest in new places and improvements to facilities for pupils with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans in mainstream and special schools, nurseries, colleges and other provision.

In May 2018 and December 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) increased Somerset’s allocation from £1.716m to £2.913m.

In March 2021, Somerset’s allocation was increased again by £983k taking the overall level of funding to £3.897m.

Allocations for 2018-19 to 2021-22

The Department for Education is providing over £600m of special provision fund allocations for the financial years 2018-19 to 2021-22.

Somerset’s allocation, as defined in March 2021, is outlined below:

2018/19               £572,132
2019/20              £1,170,873
2020/21              £1,170,873
2021/22              £983,283

Total allocation £3,897,161

These allocations are to support the local authority to create new places and improve facilities for pupils with more complex special educational needs (an Education Health and Care Plan) in mainstream and/or special schools.

Consultation

Local authorities were expected to make decisions in consultation with local stakeholders.

The options which were consulted on, were developed with stakeholders including special school head teachers.

As engagement with parents and young people is crucial, we worked in partnership with Somerset Parent Carer Forum to hold a series of consultation events in early 2019.

Those were held at:

  • Minehead on 30 January 2019
  • Bridgwater on 5 February 2019
  • Frome on 8 February 2019
  • Compton Dundon on 11 February 2019
  • Wincanton on 15 February 2019
  • Yeovil on 25 March 2019

The Somerset Parent Carer Forum also ran an online poll through their social media outlets through the autumn of 2017.

Investment

As a result of those consultation activities, Somerset County Council will be using its allocation to deliver a range of improvement projects aligning to:

  • Reasonable adjustments in mainstream schools across Somerset to meet the needs for pupils with physical impairments/disabilities or complex medical needs.
  • Reasonable adjustments in further education colleges across Somerset to meet the needs for pupils with physical impairments/disabilities or complex medical needs.
  • Works which upgrade the facilities of maintained special schools across Somerset to enable them to meet the therapeutic and sensory needs of children with complex, physical, medical and sensory conditions.
  • Works which provide nurturing environments in maintained mainstream schools across Somerset to enable them to meet the needs of children with challenging behaviour.

In addition to the DfE Special Provision Capital Fund allocation, Somerset County Council will also be investing a significant amount of its own capital funding in addition specialist places around the county.

School Place Planning Infrastructure Growth Plan