A consultation on the expansion of Stirling’s secondary specialist provision for young people with additional support needs (ASN) is underway.
Stirling’s Councillors approved the move at a recent meeting of the Children and Young People Committee.
A report presented at the committee highlighted the long-term increase in the number of children and young people assessed as having ASN and diagnosed disabilities both locally and nationally.
In Stirling, this has risen from 2,817 in 2013 to 3,528 in 2019. Improved assessment and recording is one factor behind this national trend.
Around 95% of children with ASN in Stirling are educated in mainstream schools, with 5% requiring smaller class groups with specialist staffing.
Projections suggest the current availability of places is not sufficient, with 10 new classes required within the next 10 years.
Three options have been proposed to address this issue:
- Support young people in mainstream schools and use external placements
- One additional central school to meet the increase in need for secondary specialist placements
- Establish additional secondary specialist provision within or alongside current school buildings.
The consultation is now live on the Council’s Engage Stirling platform for people to view and leave comments, with further events planned to gather views and information.
Bryony Monaghan, Stirling Council Interim Chief Education Officer, said: “It’s important we plan ahead for the increase in demand in our ASN secondary settings to ensure we can continue to provide this high-quality provision for our children and young people in the years to come.
“The Council believes the best route to achieve additional capacity and meet the needs of pupils with ASN is to develop specialist educational settings close to children’s own communities
“We have developed three different options, which include potential costs, and we will consult with the public on these proposals over the coming months.
“We will provide more details shortly on events to gather views from families, staff and other key stakeholders, and there will be an emphasis on digital technology given the current Covid-19 restrictions.”
An initial spend of £460,000 has been included in the 2021/2022 capital budget to allow design work to be progressed once a preferred option is approved, and for mitigations to take place in existing settings.
Ms Monaghan added: “We will carry out small modifications over the coming year to improve our current settings to ensure there are no capacity issues in the short term, which will also benefit current users of these facilities.”
To view and comment on the consultation, please head to the Council’s Engage Stirling Platform.