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Integrated Resource Proposal

Proposal to open an Integrated Resource (IR) to support children with complex Special Educational Needs (autism, speech and language, and communication) at Nether Edge Primary School from 1st September 2024.


Nether Edge Primary School is committed to providing high quality provision for the full range of local children.

Over many years, we have developed a strong reputation for our mainstream offer, but also for the offer for the small number of children who have more complex Special Educational Needs (SEND). These children's needs are currently met within our classroom, which we call The Nook, with varying degrees of integration into mainstream classes. This provision has been created with extra resources from the school and Mercia Learning Trust, given our commitment to being fully inclusive for all children.

Nationally and across Sheffield, the number of children with more complex SEND needs is increasing, but there are not enough specialist places, either in special schools or Integrated Resources attached to mainstream schools, to accommodate them. Within Nether Edge Primary and the locality, there is a similar increase, and a necessity for more properly resourced places.


In partnership with the Local Authority, we therefore propose to open a small 15-pupil place Integrated Resource (Reception to Year 6) for children with complex SEND needs (social communication difficulties) at Nether Edge Primary School from 1st September 2024.

The majority of places will be made available, in the first instance, for children already attending school, those due to be admitted in the future, or from the immediate locality.

Nether Edge Primary is entering into the project at the same time as Newfield Secondary School and Woodlands Primary, demonstrating a Trust-wide commitment to supporting our most vulnerable children.


There are many benefits to this proposal:

  1. It allows us to respond positively to the current and future need for specialist SEND pupil places within its catchment and the locality.
  2. Because it changes the official status of school provision, it boosts SEND funding substantially.
  3. More funding will allow us to increase staffing levels, provide more resources and interventions for children with SEND, and improve provision overall. In short, it provides an even better offer for our most vulnerable children.
  4. It allows us to access capital funding from the Local Authority (LA). We will use this to improve the interior and exterior specialist facilities in the school, so that we can create bespoke accommodation.
  5. It releases funds, previously used to support specialist provision, back to the mainstream and so benefits all children.
  6. It supports the LA objective to increase specialist places in mainstream primary schools across the city.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What will be provided within the specialist Integrated Resource?

  • A specialist integrated resource for 15 children with social communication difficulties, from reception to Y6
  • Children who have a place in our Integrated Resource will very much be part of our school. Although they will spend the majority of their day in the Integrated Resource, they will access times in the mainstream classrooms as appropriate and based on individual need
  • All children will follow a high quality communication curriculum, at the appropriate level for each individual
  • Children will also access a range of interventions and strategies recommended by external specialists such as the Autism Team, Education Psychologist and Speech & Language Team

How will pupils be admitted to the IR?

Identified children must have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) with a designated special need of communication and interaction difficulties, autism and speech and language before any consideration of the appropriateness of the placement.

Initially, most places will be taken by identified children in our school. Other pupils will then gain access via the Local Authority SEND admissions protocols. Any queries about admissions must be directed to the Local Authority.

Where will it be accommodated?

The Integrated Resource will be self-contained and based in and around our current ‘Nook’ classroom.

Additional space will be created by renovating a current storage area and toilet. An additional accommodation unit will also be placed on the current ‘Nook outdoor’ space. The exterior space currently used by ‘The Nook’ will be refurbished.

We expect all building re-modelling to be completed before 1st September 2024.

Who will oversee this new provision?

The provision will be led by a qualified teacher, and supported by a range of 4 specialist Teaching Assistants. External specialist staff (Ed Psych, SALT, etc.) will also support.

The Headteacher and SENCO will have direct responsibility for oversight of the Integrated Resource. This is alongside their overall responsibilities for school leadership and the offer to all children.

The Governing Body, and Mercia Learning Trust, will also have strategic accountability for the quality of provision, alongside the Local Authority who have co-commissioned the provision.

When will this open?

It is planned to open in September at the beginning of the 2024-25 academic year.

Will this proposal affect mainstream school and pupils?

School will operate as it does now, with the specialist IR separate to, but within the main school.

Mercia Learning Trust has considerable experience of running IRs as one has already been established for many years at King Ecgbert School.

Consultation process

The school conducted a formal consultation process in January/February 2024, including two events in school. 

During the process, feedback was gathered, the overwhelming majority of which was positive.

Questions gathered from the consultation

Will the IR be specifically autism focused? Will it provide for everyone?

The IR will be created for children who have an EHCP for communication, speech, and language / Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) based on an agreed SEN assessment methodology. Based on school / locality data, ASD presents the greatest current and anticipated SEN need.

We hope the new provision can bridge the current deficit of appropriate places for local children. Other SEN children’s need will be met as currently.

How will the rest of the school be informed?

School has engaged in a wide-ranging communication / consultation strategy. Governors and staff are fully aware of our current provision for SEN pupils, and our plans to develop an IR.

What is the Nook?

The Nook is a partially converted classroom (with outdoor space) which school currently uses as a base / provision for children with ASD needs. We intend to further develop and expand this space (and adjacent spaces) to increase bespoke provision for the IR.

Don't we already have an IR?

Over several years school has developed provision for vulnerable children, in response to rising local need. Whilst we are proud of this provision, it has been developed with limited resources.

By establishing an IR this will mean we can create a bespoke high quality and properly funded provision that builds on these initial foundations. It will meet the needs of existing children and those from the locality.

Each child has a Plan. Is the intention to make the plans more specific?

All children who gain a place within the new IR will have an EHCP with a defined need in communication, speech, and language / Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

We hope through the process of implementing new IR provision and regular review, that targets can be further refined.

What will the criteria be for admissions? Can the school control admissions?

All children who gain a place within the new IR will have an EHCP with a defined need in communication, speech, and language / Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Thresholds are common across the trust and Local Authority (LA).

Our plan is to provide IR places for local children who meet this threshold up to a maximum number of 15. The LA control SEN admissions, and SEN tribunals / appeals can direct children into provision.

However, we plan to ensure our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the LA establishes clear and predictable parameters regarding admissions, our specialism and scale.

Will there be more support from outside agencies e.g. O.T or NHS therapists

School is currently developing an individual and collective curriculum for children expected within the IR. As part of this we intend to develop an appropriate therapeutic offer for individual children which is supported by specialist external services.

As with all specialist provision, the school is led by the current Local Authority IR funding mechanism.

What are the pupil numbers involved? Will this require an Increase in space?

We plan to open a 15 place IR for children across the full primary age range. We can accommodate pupils in re-modelled and additional internal and external accommodation which is scheduled for completion in readiness for September 2024.

The school also received one additional written question and several supportive written responses.

Will mainstream children lose out if more spaces were to be taken by the new IR?

School is maintaining its PAN of 60 and adding 15 new places via the IR. Consequently, this will increase school places.

Decision-making and permission

Following a successful consultation period, the Governors and Trustees have approved the proposal to proceed to a Significant Change application with the Department for Education. Should this be successful, we will update this page in the Spring, and all being well, aim to be on target for a September 2024 start.