New figures show a Milton Keynes special school was overcrowded

But senior policy adviser at the school leaders’ union said the figures represent a ‘mismatch’
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A special school in Milton Keynes was over capacity last academic year, new figures show.

The figures show one of the six special schools in Milton Keynes – Romans Field School – was over capacity in the 2022-23 school year.

All 66 available places were filled.

Data from the Department for Education shows nearly two-thirds of special schools were full or overcrowded across England. Image Danny Lawson PAData from the Department for Education shows nearly two-thirds of special schools were full or overcrowded across England. Image Danny Lawson PA
Data from the Department for Education shows nearly two-thirds of special schools were full or overcrowded across England. Image Danny Lawson PA

Across England, 63 per cent of 1,077 special schools had at least met capacity, with around 4,000 more pupils than places.

The Department for Education said it may be a result of the way capacity has been measured, which does not take account of type of need.

Rob Williams, senior policy adviser at school leaders’ union, the National Association of Head Teachers, said the figures represent a ‘mismatch’ between the needs of the children and the funding available.

He said: "There are simply not enough special schools for pupils who need more specialist support.

"Many children are therefore instead being placed in mainstream schools which may themselves be over capacity, and may not have the staff, expertise or resources needed to offer the best possible education and support."

He urged increased funding for children with special educational needs.

Earlier this month, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan admitted the Government had not done enough for these children.

Speaking to the Association of School and College Leaders annual conference, Ms Keegan said: "If you look at special educational needs, we haven’t built enough special educational needs places or schools."

Addressing the same conference, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said the challenge facing children with special educational needs or a disability was "enormous", and it would take time for Labour to "turn that around".

The figures further show nearly a quarter of state secondary schools across England were full or overcrowded, largely unchanged from a year before.

In Milton Keynes, five of 15 schools were at or above capacity.

Meanwhile, 17 per cent of primary schools across the country were facing the same issue – with 12 of them in Milton Keynes.

In the Spring Budget the Chancellor promised £105 million over the next four years to build more than a dozen new special free schools.

The Treasury said it would create more than 2,000 additional places for children with Send in England.