Southampton City Council is consulting on proposals to expand and relocate Vermont School and the expansion of Great Oaks School at two locations (current site and a new neighbouring site)
The council is committed to expanding successful Special Educational Needs provisions where possible to meet demand. Developing places within the city will mean that children and young people are able to have their needs accommodated locally which will also reduce the need to rely on high-cost and out-of-city placements. For any school to increase their capacity by 10% or more it must follow a procedure set out by the Department for Education.
There is an urgent need to increase the number of special school places in Southampton, due to an increase in need and demand.
Vermont School is currently a 50-place Special School for primary aged pupils with Social, Emotional, Mental Health (SEMH) needs. The Council is planning to increase the capacity of the school to accommodate 76 pupils. It is proposed that the current St Monica Infant School site in Sholing, which is due to be vacated this summer, will be refurbished and extended with a new two-storey building and Vermont school will relocate to this site.
Great Oaks School is currently a 325-place Special School for 11-18-year-olds with complex needs. The Council is proposing to increase the capacity of the school to accommodate 150 additional pupil places onto a neighbouring site of Vermont School. It is also proposed to increase the facilities on one of Great Oaks' existing sites at Green Lane, Redbridge. This will provide an additional 27 spaces. It is expected that there will be a final overall capacity of 500 places at Great Oaks School.
Robert Henderson, Executive Director of Wellbeing (Children & Learning) said: “Expanding the number of Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) places will make a huge difference to children and young people across the city. We want to ensure that our children and young people with SEND have their needs met in local, inclusive and high-quality educational.
We are inviting residents to review the plans and offer their feedback in a public consultation. It’s a great opportunity for us to hear what residents think and feel about the project and I encourage families, neighbours and communities to come along to one of the events, visit the website and have their say".
The consultation is running from Monday 5 June 2023 to Tuesday 18 July 2023. Details about the consultations, drop-in sessions, FAQs and next steps can be found on the consultation page.