Nethergate Academy, one of the schools set to be refurbished. Source: Premier Modular

Nottingham City Council have begun the roll out almost £2 million of funding to local primary schools.

The £1.925 million pounds was given to the council through the Government’s High Needs Provision Capital Grant.

The funding will be rolled out in three stages and aims to improve facilities and create additional primary and secondary school placements for children with special needs and Autism.

The first delegation of funding has gone to Djanology Strelley Academy, Nethergate Academy and Whitemoor Primary.

Nethergate Academy: Refurbishing unused building repurposed for autistic children.

Whitemoor Primary Academy: Plans to open more spaces for autistic and SEND pupils.

Djanology Strelley Academy: 16 more spaces open for high needs children.

The money will be used to increase sensory facilities and enable more high needs children to enrol within their local schools.

The plans were officially agreed on the 20th June by the Nottingham City Council.

Cheryl Barnard, Chair of the Children’s Partnership Board at Nottingham City Council says she hopes the funding will make a big difference.

Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People. Source: Nottingham City Council

“We have been increasing provision in our mainstream primary and secondary schools, and also within our special schools – aiming to improve the environment.

“Some of the children will now not have to travel a long distance to get to a school – they are being educated with young people from their community.

“This also increases awareness of disability within children who do not have them.

“For those children with complex needs, we need to make sure there are enough local spaces, to remove stress from both the child and the parent,” she says.

 

What encouraged this?

The number of pupils needing extra support in school has doubled since the pandemic, with 2,000 children in the city now seeking support.

The amount of children in school with high needs autism was 317 in 2017, and is now now at 642.

Councillor David Mellen says children now have a lower chance of being placed in a school miles and miles away.

“I think we have got a strong reputation in this city for being inclusive.

“All of our children should be able to grow up with other children with different abilities,” he says.

Emma Sharif, Professional Safeguarding and Wellbeing Practitioner for SEND and Autistic children, says this funding is “absolutely crucial”.

“If there is the right access to the tools they need at school, it makes home life far more easy.

“They have less need to decompress, which could range from anything to inflicting violence on a family member – to harming themselves and their belongings.

“A lot of SEND and specifically autistic kids will decompress in their home environment, due to it being safe.

“The right sensory tools and attention to that child will significantly reduce the risk of any destruction to home life,” she says.

The second phase of improvements will start at the beginning of next year.