We will ensure that the BCP region becomes one of the best places in which children can live, learn and grow up, with opportunities to stay in the area after they leave school, whether to go to university, to train or to work. This means supporting the health, wellbeing and development of children from birth, though their early years, right through their education and into adulthood.
Working in partnership, we will make a difference to the lives of children and young people living in, learning in or visiting the BCP area. This means becoming a child-friendly place in every local community and in every postcode.
A new, three-year Children and Young People’s Plan puts children and young people at its heart, with programmes informed by their views and experiences. Having asked children and young people what makes them happy enables us to create an environment where happiness is not only possible but can flourish.
Our new, 15-step Children’s Services Action Plan has been agreed. Subject to continuous review, it will ensure that we have a service fit for purpose to ensure brighter futures for all our young people, making our systems stronger and ensuring our approach is always centred on the child. We are working closely with social work staff, service users and the Department for Education to improve our services.
We are committed to providing high-quality Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and mainstream provision across our local communities. And an additional £10 million has been invested to create capacity through additional quality provision in our area. We want to reduce the impact of travel throughout the conurbation, with a campaign encouraging children to walk to school and by providing local school places wherever possible.
Secondary school pressure has been growing in recent years and we have responded to that through supporting a new free school, opening in September 2021, along with the temporary and permanent expansions of other local secondary schools to meet projected demand for places.
In addition to the mainstream expansion programme, we have embarked upon a special school expansion strategy to increase the availability of local special school and resource base places, along with enhanced mainstream school places that offer additional SEND support.