Suffolk is set to receive nearly £11million additional funding from the government to create more education places for young people with special educational (SEND) needs and disabilities.

The Department for Education has announced an additional £10.9million to go to Suffolk County Council to create new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings.

This new funding is in addition to the £55million already invested by Suffolk County Council  into creating more than 1,000 new places for students with SEND. Nearly 750 of these places are now open and in use.

The news comes after a damaging Ofsted report into Suffolk's services for children with SEND criticised "widespread and/or systemic failings" in the local area partnership in January.

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The Department for Education also announced it was funding two new SEND schools in the county.

The new Unity SLD School will provide 126 vital new places in Suffolk for pupils aged three to 16 with severe learning difficulties, and will be located in east Suffolk.

Earlier this month, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a new SENDAT Alternative Provision (AP) free school in Bury St Edmunds, expected to create 90 places.

Andrew Reid, the council's cabinet member for education and SEND, said: “An additional £10.9million is significant news for Suffolk’s SEND services.

“We know the life-changing impact that a successful special school can have on pupils and families and are committed to making sure that every child in Suffolk reaches their potential.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for SENDAndrew Reid, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for SEND (Image: Suffolk County Council)

Overall, councils in the East of England will receive funding of more than £83million to create new places for young people with special educational needs and disabilities or who require alternative provision. 

Plans for the how the money will be spent will now be drawn up with education partners.  

The government minister for children, families and wellbeing, David Johnston, said: "This government has been creating tens of thousands of special school places so that children who can't have their needs met in mainstream schools get the right type of school place to meet their needs.

“This transformative funding will put local authorities in the East of England on track to support all children to reach their potential, and get the right support, in the right place at the right time.”