Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

New special school places approved in Biggleswade and Shefford

Thursday, 6 June 2024

We have approved new special school places at Ivel Valley School and College and Shefford Lower.

This is to ensure that more children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) have access to specialist education closer to home.

The expansion is part of a £50million package set aside to help children in Central Bedfordshire with complex needs get the support they need to learn and grow where, previously, growth in demand for special school provision had resulted in increased placements within the independent sector and outside of the area.

Starting in September, Ivel Valley School and College will expand by 33 places to meet an increasing need for special school places within Biggleswade and the surrounding areas, with additional places being phased in on Ivel Valley’s Hitchmead Road site, which will be refurbished, before the construction of a new school building.

This will allow for all pupils to benefit from enhanced SEND provision and enable the school to provide additional support to students, currently not available or not accessed by all pupils due to the school currently being on a split site at Biggleswade Academy and The Baulk.

At Shefford Lower School, a new Additional Resource Provision (ARP) will create places for eight initially, rising to 12, for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and pupils will have access to a mainstream curriculum and a safe space to be, where their needs are met. A preferred location for the new facilities has been agreed, subject to planning.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said:

This decision means that from September, more children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Central Bedfordshire will have access to a high-quality education near their home and community.