Demand for specialist school places continues to grow year on year. Over the past two years, Sheffield City Council has been increasing the capacity of our special schools by adding three extra classes at Mossbrook, two extra classes at Bents Green and extra places at Kenwood.
Since the current Year 6 is an unusually large year group, more capacity is needed in our secondary special schools from September 2020. To achieve this, Talbot and Seven Hills will move some of their post-16 provision into the Learn Sheffield building on the Talbot site, and Bents Green is also working to create extra space.
In addition, a new special school for children aged 8 to 16 years with complex needs (linked to autism and social, emotional and mental health difficulties) is being built on the former Norfolk Park special school site. The 80-place school will be run Nexus Multi-Academy Trust and is due to open in September 2021.
A second new special school, also with 80 places, is scheduled to open in September 2022. An academy sponsor for this school is yet to be announced.
The council also wants to create more Integrated Resources (IRs) across the city. IRs are specialist units in mainstream schools for children with complex needs. In the first instance, they are focusing on creating more places in the north of the city, as this area has a high level of need and only one primary IR (Fox Hill) and no secondary IRs.
To improve long-term planning, the council is working with head teachers of special schools and IRs to develop a sufficiency plan for 2020-2024. This will assess what the city needs in the coming years, both in terms of special school and IR places, and in terms of support for children with complex needs in mainstream schools.