As part of significant ongoing investment in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), a new vocational education centre opens in Cosham this week and Portsmouth City Council is now inviting parents and carers to help shape the future of SEND services across the city.
At an official opening ceremony on 22nd November, staff and guests at the Harbour Vocational Centre @ Vanguard will celebrate the provision of brand new facilities which will enable them to teach a range of practical and academic subjects to a higher standard than was previously possible.
Ian Hunkin, Head Teacher at The Harbour School, said: "We are delighted to be opening the new, bespoke, vocational centre. The centre presents fantastic new opportunities for our young people. The building has been especially modified to allow young people the opportunity to gain qualifications in vocational subjects including mechanics, catering, construction, animal care and hair and beauty. We are really looking forward to the positive difference this will make for our learners."
Parents and carers are now being consulted on their thoughts on the future of SEND provision in Portsmouth for children and young people aged 0-25 via an online survey.
Cllr Suzy Horton, cabinet member for education, said: "It's great to see new facilities like the Harbour Vocational Centre opening up. I'm really keen that we get the input from parents and carers about what's next for our SEND services. Listening to their views is very important to me so I urge them to take part in the online survey as soon as possible."
Investments by Portsmouth City Council in SEND accommodation totalling more than £11m over the past three to four years have included the reconfiguration of Cliffdale and Redwood Park Academies to meet the needs of more complex pupils, improving access and providing specialist accommodation, such as a sensory unit at St Edmund's and a hygiene room at The Portsmouth Academy and disabled adaptations at Cumberland Primary School and Trafalgar School. Earlier this year, the council was successful in bidding for a new special free school for autism and social, emotional and mental health needs which is being funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and is due to open in 2021.
Cllr Jeanette Smith, cabinet member for resources, said: "I'm delighted that we've been able to provide the new facilities at the Harbour Vocational Centre and wish all the people working and learning there a happy and successful future."