More children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are being supported in mainstream education in Wolverhampton thanks to the opening of a network of 'resource hubs' at schools around the city.

The specialist resource centres, of which there are already 10 in Wolverhampton, provide targeted support to help pupils make progress, achieve their identified outcomes and access mainstream education.

Two more hubs opened at the start of the autumn term, and a 13th is due to be operational from early next year.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "The development of resource hubs at schools across the city is a tremendously important part of our efforts to ensure that children and young people with SEND receive the help and support they need to achieve.

"The resource hubs provide pupils with specialist support, such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy or music therapy as appropriate, while the mainstream schools they are attached to receive additional funding from the council to enable them to offer provision that caters for specific types of special educational needs."

One of the newest hubs, the Kingfisher Resource Base, opened at St Martin's CE Primary School in September and supports up to 20 children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and a diagnosis of autism. 

The Resource Base comprises 2 autism friendly classrooms, a specialist outdoor area and a sensory room and is a seamless addition to the mainstream school.

Executive Headteacher Lisa Martin said: "St Martin's CE Primary is an inclusive learning establishment that celebrates diversity and we truly believe that every pupil can thrive when provided with the necessary tools.

"Children allocated to the Resource Base join our Kingfisher Class, where they are surrounded by a dedicated staff team who ensure they are both nurtured and educated safely and supportively, by adopting a holistic approach." 

Meanwhile, a new 8 place Inclusion Centre for pupils with identified high needs who are new to Wolverhampton but do not have a transferable EHC assessment, opened at St Matthias School in September. It will enable EHCPs to be completed so that children and young people can be supported appropriately to attend an educational placement, either in a mainstream or specialist educational setting.

And from February, The Ark, a resource base which will eventually offer 16 places for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs, is due to open at St Michael's CE Primary School in Tettenhall.

It will enable a wider range of pupils to benefit from the education and support provided by St Michael’s and help to further address the existing demand issue which has seen pupils with SEND have to leave the city for placements elsewhere.

The number of primary age pupils in Wolverhampton with an EHCP or statement identifying a primary need of social emotional and mental health has increased over the last few years, and around 11% of primary aged pupils in Wolverhampton with EHCPs are currently placed in out of city or independent provision.

Councillor Hardacre added: "By creating this network of resource hubs, we are broadening the range of provision for children with SEND in Wolverhampton, bridging the gap between special and mainstream schools, offering greater choice for parents and enabling children with more complex needs to be educated alongside their mainstream peers."