Redbridge Council is proposing almost 30 new places for children with special needs at a local primary schools to cope with growing demand.

To meet a “substantial growth in demand”, the council has agreed to create 28 specialised places at Redbridge Primary School by 2030.

Each year for the next seven years, four additionally resourced provision (ARP) places will be added at the school, which will also lower its target for new pupils admitted each year from 120 to 116.

A report on the plans, approved by council leaders last week, says the plan is part of the council’s wider goal to give parents of special needs children the option of keeping their children in mainstream schools.

It added said: “Ultimately, it is envisaged that this provision should serve as a means of appropriate early intervention, enabling pupils to be maintained within the mainstream sector and thereby reducing the need to unduly rely on more costly placements in special schools, or even in the non-maintained/independent sector.”

A budget of £500,000 has been set aside for two classrooms, an observation and breakout space and a sensory garden area outside.

The new facility is not expected to place additional pressure on the school staff as the ARP unit will have its own co-ordinator and learning support assistants.

A 2018 review of the council’s high-needs educational services recommended the creation of 140 new SEND school places by 2023.

Following that review, the council announced funding for 38 places at Cranbrook Primary School, Mayespark Primary School and Woodbridge High School in 2019.

In 2021, parents welcomed funding for 28 more places at Caterham High School, saying this would prevent their children needing to travel to other parts of London for specialist education.

There are also four schools catering only for children with special educational needs in the borough: Hatton School, Little Heath Foundation School, New Rush Hall School and Newbridge School.

The council approved an additional 21 places at Newbridge School in November last year, with a budget of £800,000.

However, that budget has now ballooned to £1.4 million due to the growing cost of construction and “adverse survey outcomes”.

If you or your children would like to share your experience of SEND services in Redbridge, contact