St Helens was allocated £166,000 of funding each year for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 – a total of £500,000 - from this capital fund. In 2018, the DfE announced further funding, which for St Helens is £348,837 over 2 years. Feedback in 2018 agreed with the proposal to improve our SEMH school but highlighted a gap in provision for those with SEMH needs who could be supported in mainstream and the need to improve the offer for pupils with ASD.
Since 2018, the Local Authority has worked on 3 key projects to improve our offer for pupils with SEND.
- Mill Green - work was completed on a new Key Stage 5 base in 2020, and proposals to increase numbers was approved in October 2020.
- Penkford - the Local Authority approved £6.8m investment to re-purpose the former Redbank Community Home for Redbank Special School.
- Ashurst Primary School - the Local Authority approved £7.7m investment to re-build Ashurst school, which will include a specialist facility for pupils with SEMH.
Update July 2022
In April 2021, the Department for Education awarded £649,444 towards further capital developments and in 2022/23 and 2023/24 further allocations of £2084, 290 and £2,009,856 were awarded to the Borough to continues its work to expand educational placements for pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans.
- Willow Bank School - (previously Penkford Special School) will move into newly refurbished premises on the former Redbank site in September 2022. This will provide us the opportunity to increase the capacity of the school to support 65 pupils.
- Mill Green School – the school will be moving some pupils into the base on the former Rising Stars nursery site from September 2022.
- Wargrave and Grange Valley Primary Schools will be opening new primary ASD resourced bases in September 2022. The provision “Stride” will be supporting to up to 20 pupils across the 2 sites.
- Ashurst Primary School – work started this year on the new School Building. We anticipate that the new resourced base for pupils with social, emotional and/or mental health difficulties will be open from February 2023.
- Raise Academy – work continues on the Halton/St Helens Free School for secondary aged pupils with social, emotional and/or mental health difficulties. It is hoped that the new school which will be based in Widnes, will be open during the academic year 2023-24.
- In March 2022, Cabinet approved proposals to expand the current provision for secondary pupils with autism, delivered by De La Salle High School. More detailed plans will be drawn up in the Autumn term 2022-23 to assess feasibility.
- Alongside these approved schemes, the Council continues to work with our mainstream and special schools to enhance provision. The Local Authority will be working with the DfE as part of the Delivering Better Value in SEND in the Spring Term 2023. The purpose of the programme will be to consider how our funding to support children with SEND is most efficiently used which will help us to consider further proposals.