EARLY help for children with special needs or disabilities would be overhauled under new Council plans.

Until now, there have been seven centres providing early education to pre-school children with extra needs, alongside their mainstream peers.

Under the proposals, they would be condensed into four ‘enhanced’ centres and the number of places they provide for children aged two to five would be raised from 72 to 100.

These would be in addition to the places provided at special schools for young children with more complex needs or life-limiting conditions.

At two of the bases, there would also be accompanying specialist ‘centres of excellence’ to provide special-needs support, training and outreach work for local nurseries, childminders and home-teachers.


Councillor Imran Khan, deputy leader and portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “This new model would help us achieve our ambition to give young children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) the best start we can.

“It’s important that we are as efficient as we can be in providing the services that children and young people with SEND need.

“We know that being able to provide the right services early is very important and we will be consulting with families and our partners so that we deliver these services in the best way possible.”

Three of the four centres to remain will be at St Edmunds Nursery School in Girlington, Bradford, Canterbury Nursery School in Canterbury, Bradford, and Strong Close Nursery School in Keighley.

The location of the fourth centre has yet to be decided.

A consultation with families and staff is due to begin shortly and if all goes to plan, the new model could be introduced by April next year.

A report going before a meeting of Bradford Council’s Executive tomorrow says the proportion of children with special needs or disabilities is growing.

But the report, by strategic director for education Michael Jameson, says more than half of the existing 72 places are going unfilled and that the Schools Forum had asked for a review to see if the service needed to be redesigned for the future.