Plans have been submitted to create more than 20 new places for children with special educational needs and disabilities at two city schools.

Norfolk County Council is hoping to develop an eight-place Specialist Resource Base (SRB) at Falcon Junior School and a 16-place SRB at Sprowston Junior School.

The bases enable children to be taught by specialist staff in mainstream institutions - with pupils benefiting from smaller classes and favourable pupil-staff ratios.

Norwich Evening News: Sprowston Junior SchoolSprowston Junior School (Image: Google Maps)

The council also says students "benefit from being in a mainstream school and being included in many learning opportunities with their peers."

If approved, the plans would see eight new places established for Key Stage Two pupils at Falcon Junior School from September 1 2024.

The 16-space intervention base at Sprowston Junior School, which is also for children in Key Stage Two, would become operational from September 1 2025.

Both institutions currently provide support for students with SEND. 

The new facilities will be established alongside a 16-place social, emotional and mental health support base in St William's Primary.

The new proposals from the county council are a part of the authority's Local First Inclusion - a six-year special educational needs and/or disabilities improvement programme.

Norwich Evening News: Falcon Junior SchoolFalcon Junior School (Image: Google Maps)

The authority has been criticised for "letting down" vulnerable children - with watchdogs previously finding "significant areas of weakness" in SEND services.

But an inspection earlier this year found "sufficient progress" was being made.

Documents submitted by the County Council as part of the proposals for the two new SRBs claimed the authority "does not have enough local specialist special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision in mainstream schools."

"Our research has identified the SEND need and the location areas.

"Specialist Resource Bases in mainstream schools enable all children and young people with SEND to get a consistently high-quality education with the right support for their needs in their local area first."

Labour County Councillor Maxine Webb said: "It’s great if children whose needs can be met at an SRB can have these opportunities closer to home - although SRBs have not historically been limited to intake only local children so we will have to see how this pans out.

Norwich Evening News: Labour County Councillor Maxine WebbLabour County Councillor Maxine Webb (Image: Maxine Webb)

"I also hope a similar offer is being created in more local secondary schools so that children’s needs continue to be met. Transition to secondary education is often a big flashpoint for pupils with SEND and it’s vital young people don’t get left to flounder at this crucial stage.

"Likewise when they turn 16 as there’s an increasingly worrying lack of SEND post 16 provision in Norwich and across the county."