Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Council consults on investment in special school facilities

8 June 2018

We are consulting on proposals to improve school provision for children and young people with special needs after being allocated £1.6million from the Department for Education.

The funding, which will be made in annual instalments of around £500,000 over three years, can only be used to invest in adapting or expanding buildings and facilities.

Our proposed approach is to invest this funding in its four special schools this year:

  • Dunstable’s Chiltern Special School and Weatherfield Academy
  • Ivel Valley Special School in Biggleswade
  • Oak Bank Academy in Leighton Buzzard

We will look to invest in mainstream schools and other provision in year two and three.

This is because a recent capacity review of special education needs provision showed that all four special schools in Central Bedfordshire are over capacity, while a significant 20 per cent increase over the last two years in the number of local children with special needs has added more pressure on these schools.

We are now consulting on proposals to:

  • provide two temporary double classrooms at Ivel Valley Special School to increase capacity
  • create a medical suite at Ivel Valley Special School, which will also free up existing meeting space to be used for supporting children and their families
  • make some changes internally and add a new modular building to Chiltern Special School. This will increase the number of pupils with more complex needs, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, that can be accommodated in the school
  • create one additional classroom at Weatherfield Academy to cater for a greater number of children with more significant needs and to place children in classrooms according to their needs
  • adapt an existing classroom at Oak Bank Academy and add a modular classroom to ensure that there is more suitable accommodation for Key Stage 5/Post 16 pupils. This will mean that the current accommodation can be refurbished and used to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • to investigate further where the next two years of funding could best be used to improve SEND provision in mainstream schools

Councillor Steve Dixon, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “We already plan for creating more school places and making improvements to school facilities, however, this additional funding means we can do more than we had planned. 

“Our recent review has shown that our special schools are over capacity – that means they need more space to be able to provide the best support and education.

“To help us develop our specific proposals we have already engaged with parents, through the Special Needs Action Panel (SNAP) and our special schools.

“This consultation is to help us decide how best to spend this year’s funding and future phases of funding.”

The Council wants feedback on these specific proposals for 2018/19 and to hear ideas for the future allocation of this funding.

You can have your say online at or you can pick up a paper response form from council offices.

All responses should be received by 5pm on June 29, 2018.

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