Medway Council’s bid for a new SEND free school has been rejected by the government. Thirty-seven new special schools were approved by the Department for Education throughout the country, including one in Kent. However, Medway’s own bid was turned down.
Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Children and Young People said, ‘Medway Council losing this SEND free school bid is extremely disappointing and difficult for parents and young people in Medway, especially for Abbey Court Special School, where year 6 pupils are facing an uncertain future due to a lack of sufficient secondary provision.
‘Back in 2013 Medway Council made the decision to increase primary provision at Abbey Court, meaning they have had plenty of time to address the shortfall in provision at secondary level. Medway Labour Group have been pressing the Conservative administration for months for a plan in case their bid failed.
‘Instead the administration put all their eggs in this basket, but their last-minute gamble failed and they do not seem to have a plan B. The Conservatives have been complacent and they have now been caught out.
‘Here in Medway we have a real issue with out-of-area placements, which are not only detrimental to the quality of life of young people and their families, but incurs an astronomical cost to the taxpayer compared to the cost of educating these children within their communities.
‘These young people and their parents have been treated very poorly by Medway’s Conservative administration and they need to know urgently that there is a plan B.’
These young people and their parents have been treated very poorly by Medway's Conservative administration and they need to know urgently that there is a plan B. Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Children and Young People