More than 40 new special school places in Biggleswade and Shefford as part of £50million investment

File photo of children in a classroom. Pic: Adobe stockFile photo of children in a classroom. Pic: Adobe stock
File photo of children in a classroom. Pic: Adobe stock
More than 40 new special school places will be created in Biggleswade and Shefford.

Central Bedfordshire Council has approved the new places at Ivel Valley School and College in Biggleswade and Shefford Lower as part of £50million package to help children in Central Bedfordshire with complex needs. Previously, growth in demand for special school provision had resulted in increased placements within the independent sector and outside of the area.

Starting in September, Ivel Valley School and College will expand by 33 places to meet an increasing need for special school places within Biggleswade and the surrounding areas. Additional places will be phased in on Ivel Valley’s Hitchmead Road site, which will be refurbished, before the construction of a new school building.

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The council says this will allow for all pupils to benefit from enhanced SEND provision and enable the school to provide additional support to students, currently not available or not accessed by all pupils due to the school currently being on a split site at Biggleswade Academy and The Baulk.

At Shefford Lower School, a new Additional Resource Provision (ARP) will create eight places initially – rising to 12 – for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. Pupils will have access to a mainstream curriculum and a safe space to be, where their needs are met. A preferred location for the new facilities has been agreed, subject to planning.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said: “This decision means that from September, more children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Central Bedfordshire will have access to a high-quality education near their home and community.”

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