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Special needs review praised

A HEADTEACHER at a top-rated school has welcomed a county-wide review of special needs facilities saying it will address major issues in Gravesend and Dartford.

Simon Harrison, headteacher at Ifield School in Cedar Avenue, Gravesend, said teachers needed more special needs training to cope with pupils in mainstream schools.

He also called for more special needs schools so children didn't have to travel long distances to attend the school of their choice.

Mr Harrison's school is bursting at the seams with all 177 spaces filled. It currently caters for a wider range of needs than officially intended because of lack of provision elsewhere.

Ifield was made a Beacon School last September and recently received £3m from Kent County Council to make vital improvements to its service.

Mr Harrison said: "We have local children who we are not able to support. We have a waiting list of children who need help but who can't get it."

The review by Kent County Council will include consultation with teachers and parents in an attempt to update the services made available in a changing climate.

More children needing special needs school places, medical advances seeing children with complex disabilities reach adulthood, and parents opting for their children to attend mainstream schools has sparked the review.

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