Shared Agenda provide strategic pupil place planning advice considering growing SEND population numbers in the UK

Building on the success of our work with Hull City Council (as part of the Hull Esteem offer) with regards to mainstream pupil place planning, Shared Agenda previously supported the council in producing a Sufficiency Strategy for places for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

This strategy reviewed existing pupil numbers and needs, alongside the existing estate provision, and benchmark against regional and national comparators. As well as analysing the capacity of the existing estate to meet future demand.

The strategy supported the Council’s application to the Department for Education to apply for more funding to create the additional places needed.

Nationally the pressures in meeting demand for SEND places continues to increase, and Shared Agenda has recently been commissioned to refresh the original strategy based on the current estate and revise the pupil forecasting in line with current trends.

At the same time, we have also been appointed to support Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) in an exercise to assess the capacity of their existing estate and recommend potential changes that could be made to ease the pressures they too are experiencing.

This is an ongoing partnership with Rotherham’s Local Authority where the team are also working on several specific special school projects.

Nikola Idle, Associate Director for Shared Agenda said;

“We were able to work with HCC and Esteem to put the outcomes of the initial Hull SEND sufficiency strategy into action and create Hull’s first ever purpose-built unit for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) integrated into a mainstream primary school.

“Broadacre Primary School opened in March of this year, and now has a 10-place base for children with autism, providing them with the ability to access mainstream classes alongside their peers to support learning, integration, and enhanced pupil experiences. The base is there to provide a familiar, comfortable space to return to as and when they need it.

“Local and national trends both show a continued increase in the number of pupils with SEND needing special school places, so we are seeing an increased demand for our services to help Local Authorities with both forecasting and how they could better utilise their existing estate.

“Unlike mainstream provisions, where the Local Authorities have successfully undertaken this role based on established tools and processes, SEND forecasting and capacity assessments is more of a bespoke ask, in an ever-changing environment.

“We’re now looking at every single SEND provision in Rotherham to understand what they have and how they use it, so the Authority can understand how they can better utilise these assets, and where specific additional capacity may be required, and ultimately how it could be achieved.”