The government recognises that there is a growing need for specialist special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision across the country and establishing sufficient school places is one of the government’s top priorities. This is why the department has invested £2.6 billion of high needs capital funding between 2022 and 2025. As well as supporting 41 new special free schools, this will enable local authorities to deliver new places for SEND pupils in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings, and also to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings. As part of this, the department has published over £1.5 billion of High Needs Provision Capital Allocations for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years, of which Bradford have been allocated £12.1 million.
In addition, to support local authorities to manage their specialist provision the department has started to collect data on the capacity of special schools and SEND units/resourced provision in mainstream schools, as well as forecasts of the numbers of specialist placements local authorities expect to make in SEND units/resourced provision, special schools (of all types) and alternative provision. This is expected to be an annual data collection, forming part of the existing School Capacity Survey (SCAP). The department is working closely with local authorities and other sector stakeholders to ensure the data we collect best supports the needs of users across the 0-25 system and will explore options for improving and broadening the data we collect in future years. Guidance on completing the SCAP survey, including tools to support local authorities in assessing the capacity of special schools, is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-capacity-survey-guide-for-local-authorities#:~:text=The%20annual%20school%20capacity%20survey%20(%20SCAP%20)%20collects%20information%20on%3A,the%20next%205%20academic%20years.