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Ambitious school expansion for special educational needs

Plans to increase the number of special educational needs (SEND) school places in the borough has moved a step closer, as the appointment of builders to expand Mandeville School at Oldfield Primary School was agreed at Ealing Council’s cabinet meeting on 6 March 2024.

The school expansion will crucially mean that each year many more children with some of the most complex needs in the borough will get the specialist support and school place they need close to home, in their own community.

‘Deserve the same opportunities’

Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, cabinet member for a fairer start, said: “Children with special educational needs in Ealing deserve to get the same opportunities as their friends; to get the specialist education they need in their own local community. I’m really excited to see that the expansion of Mandeville School taking place at Oldfield Primary School will now get underway, providing even more support to more families in the borough.

“At a time when school leaders across the country have spoken of a crisis in the lack of national funding to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, we are investing in the futures of all our children, supporting them and their families with extra places and brand-new specialist facilities close to home to tackle inequality.”

Increase capacity

Building work, which is due to start in April, will create additional classrooms and specialist learning spaces in time to offer extra places later this year and next, allowing Mandeville School to increase its capacity to 168 places for children from reception to year 6.

The plans follow a detailed consultation process with parents, staff and the local community to respond to the significant rise in demand for specialist SEND places in the borough.

Mandeville School supports children who may also have complex medical conditions, severe communication disorders, bimodal sensory impairment, high personal care and postural management or challenging behaviours. Without the investment to expand the school, 24 children every year would be forced to attend non-maintained or independent schools, which could mean families having to travel across London and beyond to get their child the specialist support they need.

While the building work is underway at Oldfield Primary School additional facilities will be created for reception and year 1 pupils with severe learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder, while protecting the play space and taking the opportunity to improve fencing and landscaping at Oldfield Primary School.

Details on Ealing’s local offer for children with SEND can be seen online.

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