A NEW school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) could be on its way to Wokingham borough.

Bosses want to build ‘another Addington’ – the ‘Outstanding’ school in Woodley – to help keep SEND costs down.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) spends more than £2 million a year on transporting SEND children to school at an approximate cost of £6,500 per head.

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Children’s services leaders say the authority has seen an increase in the number of children and young people with an educational health and care plan attending a special school, and in particular schools outside the borough.

Bracknell News:

To tackle this, plans for a new SEND school have been in the pipeline for five months, according to Cllr John Kaiser, Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC) finance boss.

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He told the News: “We need another special needs school and that’s going through the pipeline at the moment.

“Once we’ve got the money we will identify the land and then we will decide the most suitable place for it to be built.

“If the numbers justify it, the school will be delivered.”

Bracknell News:

At a meeting of WBC’s top team on Thursday, October 31, Cllr UllaKarin Clark, lead member for Children’s Services said the authority was in the process of building “another Addington, which would give us another 175 places.”

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Bosses have tried to tackle this issue with another 50 spaces set to be added at Addington School after expansion plans were given the go-ahead in June – a move which will cost WBC more than £4 million.

A joint proposal between WBC, West Berkshire Council and Reading Borough Council will also see the three authorities develop a new SEND school in Reading, and bosses want to utilise space at Northern House School and Bohunt Secondary School going forward.

Bracknell News:

Jim Leviers, Interim Assistant Director for Education, told councillors about these proposals at a community committee meeting last week.

He said: “When you put all of those things together, you have a good overarching strategy to make yourself self-sufficient.”