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Cabinet approves consultation on £1.1million expansion of special education at Hunsbury Park Primary

With the number of children on the autistic spectrum expected to increase by 40 per cent over the next three years, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has given the go ahead for 50 new specialist places at Hunsbury Park Primary School.

The move is part of a larger strategy to create 500 new specialist places by 2024 and will see work take place over the summer ready for the new intake of pupils in September this year.

Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC’s Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: “We have a longer-term plan to address the pressure on specialist education places, but work must take place in the short term as well.

“A shortage of places is not a challenge unique to West Northamptonshire, but I am determined we will be able to cater for every child in the best possible way we can.”

To provide the additional capacity Hunsbury Park Primary School and WNC officers have worked collaboratively to develop plans to establish a new Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) unit at the school for a significant period of time and the school meets all of the necessary criteria.

The school already successfully operates a smaller SEND unit and its Senior Leadership contains significant experience of working within specialist settings. The greatest amount of current and future demand for SEND places in West Northants arises from Northampton town, in which the school is located.

Being located to the south of the town also means the school is more accessible than other existing provisions to residents of South Northants, which will reduce home to school travel times for any pupil residing in this area that may access the provision.

After a four-week consultation starting later this month, responses will be analysed and presented to the WNC Cabinet for a final decision in July.

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