With reference to Claire Clarke’s letter (Lynn News, September 15), I would like to reassure parents and carers that we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that children who need specialist educational placements continue to receive them. We want to ensure that all children are taught close to their homes, with a far more inclusive education system that supports children in their local communities.
We are exploring the cost of transport for children with special educational needs because this is an area that cost us £10.5m last year and we are facing a £111m funding gap over the next three years.
However, this is about making the existing system more efficient and ensuring that the right support is available in the right places for Norfolk’s children. At the moment some children have to travel many miles every day to get to and from their schools and that is not in their best interests.
We have just developed our new Inclusion Service and one of the aims of that service is to support mainstream schools to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities, wherever this is appropriate.
As we develop the capacity of mainstream schools to meet the needs of children with specialist educational needs, we will have more placements available to children within their communities. However, children that need to go to a special school will continue to do so.
Special education needs funding is passed directly to schools so that they can provide the right support to their pupils and we want to ensure that children who can and want to attend local mainstream schools are able to do so.
Chairman of Children’s
Services Committee, NCC