PROPOSALS to widen the range of schools in Cumbria able to support children with additional needs have been revealed.

Cumbria County Council is considering changing the way it offers its education provision to youngsters with special educations needs and disabilities.

The authority has today launched a public consultation and is urging parents, carers, schools and others with an interest to have their say before July 19.

It is hosting six public consultation events across the county, with the first taking place in Carlisle at Trinity School on June 4.

There are currently 28 schools across the county which are funded by Resourced Provision from the High Needs Block HNB, an element of funding given to Cumbria by the Government to pay for education in schools.

They currently support 114 children through additional staff, including teaching assistants and specialist teachers, and specialist equipment.

The county council says that although this system works, there are drawbacks.

It is now proposing to moved the Resourced Provision funding to five hubs, based in the county's Special Schools, and make all specialist teachers and support staff associated with Resourced Provision employees of Cumbria County Council, rather than them being employed by individual schools.

This would mean staff could be redeployed to where there are needed most.

The consultation document states: "It means better value for money, more stable employment for staff, and helps us keep hold of our highly-skilled special educational needs and disabilities workforce which we might otherwise lose. Most importantly, it means we provide a better service to the children and young people who need it most."

Councillor Sue Sanderson, cabinet member for Schools and Learning, said: “I’m passionate about special educational needs and proud that in Cumbria children with additional needs achieve significantly better educational outcomes than nationally.

"But the current system is inflexible and limits the options that parents and children have. I know that many want to attend their local school, staying part of the local community, but that isn’t always possible if the school doesn’t have the capacity to meet the child’s needs.

"These new proposals change that and have the potential improve the education that children with additional needs receive even further. It’s really important that we hear from children, parents and schools about what we’re proposing and I hope they will take time to have their say.”

Consultation events will take place across the county:

  • Carlisle - at Trinity School Library, Strand Road, on June 4, from 4.30pm – 6.30pm.
  • Workington - at Workington Academy, Stainburn Road, on July 1, from 3.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Penrith - at Beaconside School, Hutton Hill, on July 8 from 5pm to 7pm
  • Egremont - at West Lakes Academy, Main Street, on July 15 from 4pm to 6pm
  • Barrow - at Walney School, Sandy Gap Lane, on June 27 from 3.30pm to 5.30pm
  • Kendal - at Queen Katherine School, Appleby Road, on June 10 from 3.30pm to 5.30pm

Full details of the consultation can be found at