Worthing High School special support centre gets £2.4m funding

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More than £2.4million has been approved for the remodelling of the special support centre at Worthing High School.

With the demand for places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) increasing countywide, West Sussex County Council has been delivering a programme to expand existing centres and create new ones.

As such, Jacquie Russell, cabinet member for children and young people, learning and skills, has approved the use of £2.47million from a government grant provided create additional places for children with SEND.

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A report to Mrs Russell from the council’s assistant directors of property and assets and education and skills, said the SEND provision at the school for children with social communication needs, such as autism, would increase from 14 to 18 places.

This would save on average £32,000 per place, per annum, when compared with sending the youngsters to independent schools or those not maintained by the local authority. With all 18 places filled, that would help avoid costs of £576,000 per year.

The special support centre building project will see spaces within the school remodelled to provide facilities such as class and group spaces, sensory and calming rooms, toilets and ancillary spaces.

Once the design work is completed, a procurement exercise will be undertaken to appoint a contractor to carry out the work. Work is expected to start later this year, with a the centre hopefully opening in September, 2025.