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Young people aged 13 – 25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are invited to share their aspirations and help to shape future services as Portsmouth City Council launch their bi-annual survey in collaboration with Dynamite youth group.

The survey launches this week as part of Portsmouth Aspirations Week and is available online until 25 March. Young people can complete the survey online on the Portsmouth SEND Local Offer website at www.portsmouthlocaloffer.org, or paper copies can be requested from your child’s school or college, or by emailing eandsc@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Over the past 5 to 6 years, Portsmouth City Council has made significant investment, totalling £11.49m, in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) accommodation across the city, including:

  • schemes to reconfigure SEND accommodation to meet the needs of more complex pupils at Cliffdale (£3.1m) and Redwood Park (£3.05m)
  • development of the Harbour Vocational Centre @ Vanguard (£3.26m)
  • schemes to increase the number of SEND pupils that can be accommodated at Solent Academy Trust (SAT) Early Years (£400,000) and installation of ramps (£17,000)
  • specialist accommodation in mainstream schools for example a sensory unit at St Edmund’s (£557,000), and a hygiene room at The Portsmouth Academy (£18,000)
  • smaller schemes to enable pupils with SEND to be accommodated in mainstream schools include disabled adaptations at Cumberland Primary School (£25,000) and Trafalgar (£100,000)
  • development of additional accommodation for post-16 students with SEND – Portsmouth College (£280,000) and Highbury College (£690,000)

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Education at Portsmouth City Council, said: “We pride ourselves in Portsmouth for being an inclusive city and for the services we provide for children and young people with SEND. We really value the input that they and their parents and carers give us to help us to continue to improve the support we can offer.

“As a result of feedback in the last survey, we have launched a pilot scheme to help young people with SEND learn to travel to school independently and we are also enhancing our support for employability for those with SEND, with help from local employers. It is so important that we help all young people to achieve their aspirations and remove as many barriers as we can to help them to progress.

“We will continue to collaborate with families and young people to get their input to shape future services in a way that works best for them and I urge all young people with SEND to complete the survey to help us with that work.”

On 17 March, young people and adults with learning disabilities will be able to attend the council’s ‘Moving Forward’ event at Portsmouth Football Club, to find out about the support available as they prepare for adulthood and potential opportunities with local employers.

The SEND survey for young people aged 13 – 25 is available online until 25 March and can be found on the Portsmouth Local Offer website at www.portsmouthlocaloffer.org, or you can request a paper copy from your child’s school or college, or by emailing eandsc@portsmouthcc.gov.uk