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SEN Capital Funding

Local authorities must ensure there are sufficient good school places for all pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and disabilities. The Government has committed £215 million of capital funding nationally (2018-2020) to help local authorities create new school places and improve existing facilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, in consultation with parents and providers.

The allocation for Torbay was a total of £500,000 which is split into 3 equal payments for each of the years 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21. In May 2018, the DfE announced a £50 million increase to this fund and in December 2018 a further £100million to local authorities, taking the total investment in this fund to £365 million. The additional allocations for Torbay announced May 2018 (£116,279) and December 2018 (£232,558) bring Torbay’s revised total allocation to £848,837.

This funding is:

  • intended for the children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans for whom the local authority is responsible.
  • to support local authorities to invest in provision for children and young people with SEN and disabilities aged 0-25 to improve the quality and range of provision available to the local authority.

Torbay aspires to create a well-planned continuum of provision from birth to age 25 that meets the needs of children and young people with Special Educational needs and Disabilities (SEND) and their families as set out in our SEND Strategy.

Torbay’s Current Context and Performance

There are currently 26,848 children and young people under the age of 18 living in Torbay (ONS mid- year 2019). 20,194 children and young people attend state-funded schools in Torbay (January 2019 school census).

Torbay has a high proportion of children and young people with Statements / Education, Health and Care Plans. This equates to 5% of the pupil population compared to 3.1% nationally. This figure includes all types of schools including free schools and independent schools (school census as reported in Local Authority Interactive Tool (LAIT – published March 2020)).

The SEND legislation covers the age range 0-25 years. The total number of Torbay pupils with EHC Plans / Statements is 1440 (as of March 2020). In addition there were also 2490 pupils being supported at SEN Support level within Torbay State Funded Schools (as at January 2019). The following charts demonstrate:

  • The number of pupils with an EHC Plan by age band (SEN Team data as of 10/01/2019)
  • The number of pupils with an EHC Plan primary identified need (SEN Team data as of 05/03/2020)
  • The number of pupils with SEN at SEN support level in schools (Internal analysis using January 2019 census for Torbay)

Current Provision and Accessibility

Children and young people in Torbay may attend mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges or specialist provision such as mainstream schools with enhanced resource provision or special schools. In a diverse provider landscape the local area must exercise a range of roles and remain committed to the inclusion of children and young people.

In addition to mainstream provision the LA has developed a number of enhanced resource provisions that are delivered by mainstream providers. These include the following:-

  • Barton Academy (Speech & Language Therapy)
  • Preston Primary School (Autistic Spectrum Condition)
  • St Margaret’s Academy (Hearing Impairment)
  • The Spires College (Hearing Impairment)
  • The Spires College (Autistic Spectrum Condition - newly created via SEN Capital Funding 2018)
  • Brixham College (Autistic Spectrum Condition)
  • Paignton Acadamy (Social, Emotional and Mental Health (axiety) - newly created via SEN Capital Funding 2018)

The number of children presenting with additional needs is increasing both locally and nationally. Torbay has taken action to commission additional placements with existing schools, colleges and special schools within the local area. The current capacity of providers to expand the offer further is limited; this is compounded by the demographical demand to create more provision at all phases.

The SEND reforms have required Post 16 provision to be developed further. Additional needs which require enhanced provisions are around students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Emotional, Socialand Mental Health difficulties (SEMH).

The SEND Strategy provides the framework within which services can develop in an affordable and sustainable manner in the interests of Torbay children.

Participation is a key theme within the SEND Strategy, which also identifies Co-Production as a Priority area. We will ensure that parents, children and young people are involved in discussions and decisions about every aspect of planning, including making provision to meet local needs.

SEN Capital Funding Consultation Results

Online and paper based consultation for this funding was originally undertaken between  1 December 2017 and 31 January 2018.

This was an opportunity for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, their families, education providers and Torbay residents, to consider what was being proposed and feedback their views. Responses received were then be used to help inform decision making on how the funding will be allocated.

The majority of respondents supportive of the proposals presented. Please see the 2018 consultation results by either clicking here or using the downloads section on the right hand side of this webpage.

Additional consultation in relation to the additional funds allocated to Torbay via the Special Provision Capital Funding were undertaken between 2 - 30 May. 

This was an opportunity for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, their families, education providers and Torbay residents, to consider what was being proposed  for the additional funds allocated and feedback their views. Responses received were then be used to help inform decision making on how the funding will be allocated.

The majority of respondents supportive of the proposals presented. Please see the 2019 consultation results by either clicking here or using the downloads section on the right hand side of this webpage.

Torbay's Special Provision Plan (2018-2021)

The Government requires local authorities to complete and publish a short plan that sets out how they intend to invest their allocation, which is visible to parents, carers and other local groups.

The plan for local authorities SEND capital provision allocations should sit coherently with their wider plan.

For Torbay, this is the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy 2016-2020 which sets out the Local Authority (LA) strategy for improving outcomes and life chances for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) across the local area.

The conditions and timeline of this funding are:




Spring 2018

Local authorities must consult with parents and providers

Consultation took place between 1 December 2017 and 31 January 2018.

By Wednesday 14 March 2018

Local authorities must publish the short plan on their local offer page

Torbay's original Special Provision Plan (2018-2021) published 14/3/18

Summer 2018

If plans meet requirements, local authorities will receive the first tranche of funding.

First tranche of funding received.

Spring 2019

Local authorities must consult further with parents and providers

Consultation took place between 2 - 30 May 2019.

31 May 2019

Local authorities must update and republish their plan to show what they have spent on so far, and any changes/updates to their plan or consultation. This should cover as much detail as is known on how they will spend the additional funding.

Torbay's revised and updated Special Provision Plan (2018-2021) published 31/5/19

Summer 2019

If plans meet requirements, local authorities will receive the second tranche of funding.

Second tranche of funding received.

March 2020

Local authorities should update and republish their plans again.

Torbay's revised and updated Special Provision Plan (2018-2021) published 31/3/2020

Summer 2020

Local authorities will receive the third tranche of funding.


March 2021

Local authorities should update and republish their plan a final time, to show how all money was eventually spent.


Please see

by either clicking the title or using the downloads section on the right hand side of this webpage.

SEND Accessibility Fund Application process, guidance and forms

The final bidding round for 2020 applications are now open and will now close on 30 June 2020, extended closure date due to Covid 19 conditions. Applicants forms and instructions are available in the downloads section on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Successful applicants for Accessibility Funding to improve inclusion in Mainstream Schools 2018-19

Below are summary details of the projects that were successful in improving inclusion within mainstream via the Accessibility Funding in 2018-19. Where supplied by schools, there are also comments from the successful schools with images of the work completed.

Name of School Description of extended provision

Torre C of E Academy

Creation of sensory area within the Reception Unit - safe, calming and sensory stimulating room within the Reception Unit to allow SEN children to develop and engage in sensory experiences without feeling frightened or overwhelmed.  Resourced with lights, projections, cushions, tactile toys, calming music, soft play equipment and safety items e.g. plug covers etc.

“The money we received to go towards setting up the sensory room had provided the children of Torre Academy C of E with a fully equipped indoor sensory room with strobes, sensory mats, soft areas and plenty of resources to meet the needs of several children. In our outdoor area, we were able to develop it with a range of outdoor equipment to enhance their learning. The impact this has on our SEN children is evident for all that visit to see. Our children with sensory needs often self-regulate using this room and it has become a fantastic safe space to allow them to meet sensory seeking needs”.


St Cuthbert Mayne

The provision of blinds to improve access to the learning environment for those with visual impairment.

Muddy Wellies Nursery (YMCA)

Creation of a sensory room for children to access, to include specialist sensory walls, flooring, lighting, projectors, bubble tubes, seating, bean bags, sounds and textures.  All children benefit from having a secure and safe space to relax and engage emotional thinking to help promote learning, but naturally, for children with additional needs and disabilities it can play a crucial part in their development and progress.

“The children absolutely love the new sensory room, we have found that all of them are benefitting from the holistic, calming atmosphere it is providing, it is particularly helpful for our 1:1 children too. Thank you so much for the funding, we couldn’t have achieved this without it!”


Churston Ferrers Grammar School

Conversion of a functional room into a calm, sensory room with soft chairs, weighted blankets, lowered ceiling, soft lighting with carpet and calming wall coverings. Provision of a safe and calming room will accelerate the process of helping young persons to re-engage with school life and their learning It is hoped that the room will play a significant role in helping to reduce school and/or lesson absence due to anxiety and that the room will enable the school to work towards significantly improved life chances for their most vulnerable students.

“The old storage/nurses room now has a much lower ceiling, making it feel a much cosier room.  The colour on the wall and the dimmable lighting has helped create a soothing space and removing the large sink and shelves give much more sitting space.  The new smaller sink placed in the toilet makes the toilet still useable. In the mornings before school and during breaks and lunches up to 3 students at any one time use the room.  Most of these are EHCP students but other highly anxious autistic students also use the room on a daily basis. The room is also used frequently during the day for students to spend time regulating themselves, or during their dropped lessons to complete work.  We keep some lego, puzzles and calming items in the room so that it much more of the student's room, rather than a multi-use meeting room and they feel very much that it is their space.  They have named it the 'chill out room' and created a sign for the door. At present the walls are bare to create a calm space with no distractions, but we will liaise with the key students to discuss if they would like anything else in there.  It has been a much needed addition to enable us to cater for our higher needs students who require 1:1 TAs at all times, particularly for 2 of our new yr 7 EHCP students and a highly anxious yr 9 student who has recently been diagnosed with autism."

Our Lady Of The Angels

Creation of a level path with suitable surface, wide enough for an electric wheelchair. The outcome would be increased inclusivity in PE and sports for wheelchair users.

“The camber on this entrance meant that our child who uses a wheelchair felt very unsafe accessing the playing field. The child now gets down there in safety and, weather permitting, plays on the field and joins in with sporting events with the other children”.

Paignton Community & Sports Academy

Alterations required to accommodate two students moving from the Waterleat Road Site to the Borough Road Site.  To include altered access on site for powered wheelchairs.  Improve physical access to classrooms and specialist equipment.

Sherwell Valley Primary School

Works to extend current pastoral room to create a large, more open and dedicated area for all social, emotional and mental health interventions. The space will be redecorated and equipped with calming resources and comfortable seating.

Churston Ferrers Grammar School

The conversion of an internal filing space in the Sixth form student study area into a calm sensory room with soft chairs, weighted blankets, soft lighting with carpet and calming wall coverings.

The room is next to the Sixth form office and allows for easy access by pastoral staff to the students who will be using the room.  Installation of good quality recessed speakers and a wifi audio unit to enable acoustic isolation of the room from outside distractions. CFGS experience significant success with pastoral and SEND services post 16, but are very short of the appropriate space necessary to support their most vulnerable students.  The premium on space is often felt at free association times and it is these times that can be the most challenging for students who have particular needs around anxiety and social interaction. 

"It has become increasingly apparent that the various health issues experienced by young people often present themselves in school. Our EHCP students are amongst our most vulnerable students and these students need ongoing support which is targeted and discrete. Students diagnosed with ADHD, who are on medication require a quiet place to take this, often need rest breaks and a place to settle, away from the noise of the common room. An EHCP student who suffers from the effects of viral encephalitis, experiences anxiety and sensitivity to bright lights and noise therefore benefiting from access to a calm room with subdued lighting. Having a quiet and private space to talk to such students, who sometimes need to sit with a member of staff who can explain boundaries and provide instructions in a manner tailored to the needs of the student without interruption, offer them counselling and mentoring is invaluable for their wellbeing. For the Sixth Form Team to spend time regularly listening to and advising students on a 'one to one' basis necessitates having this discreet and private area. There are also times when external agencies involved with our students visit them in school and need a separate room to meet with them; being able to access the room via the Sixth Form office also extends privacy to visitors and students alike."  

Watcombe Primary School

Creation of a forest school area to allow specific children to develop and manage their SEMH in a different environment beyond the classroom.

  • Building a wooden bridge to gain access
  • Site a storage shed for equipment
  • Purchase equipment

Roselands Primary School

Development of nurture provision. This provision will provide an additional learning, calming and sensory space for children who are struggling to access the curriculum in a classroom environment. It will provide a calming, free environment that will allow adults to meet children's sensory, emotional and social needs as well as allowing them to access the curriculum in a style that is more appropriate to their needs.

Quote from Hannah Dillon - Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCo) - “This year we have had a higher number of children with more complex needs join the school. Our new nurture provision has provided many more inclusive opportunities for these children that allows them to access additional resources, a calming space to learn, explore and share experiences with others. It has also been a wonderful resource for children within the school that would benefit from sensory activities, messy play and quiet time to explore and understand their emotions. The new provision has been a fantastic addition to the school and we are very thankful for the capital bid funding we received”.

Successful applicants for Accessibility Funding to improve inclusion in Mainstream Schools 2019-20

Below are summary details of the projects that were successful in improving inclusion within mainstream via the Accessibility Funding in 2018-19.

Name of School Description of extended provision
Torquay Boys Grammar School Conversion of existing SEND meeting room into a calm sensory room with resources.
Galmpton Primary Creation of enhanced provision unit.
Torquay Girls Grammar School Provision of a dedicated, purpose built cabin for use with ASD students including those awaiting diagnosis and those who are transitioning back into school life. Providing a calm and private environment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday school life and provide a sanctuary for those students who can experience social isolation at break times. 

Student feedback - “It came at the perfect time for me.  I was getting quite introverted and can now start talking to people.” (Year 9 student) 

Quote from Zoe Beard - Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENDCo) - “Students and staff at Torquay Girls' Grammar School are thrilled with their new ASD 'Garden Room'. It was built as a transitional space for those returning to school after a period of absence and could potentially be used for tutoring happening elsewhere to encourage ASD students back into school. In addition, it is being used as a space for ASD students both with a diagnosis and those on the waiting list, which is currently 2+ years. The school recognised the need for these students to have dedicated space to use. Many of these students are vulnerable and most are at a loss during break times to know where to go or what to do. The 'Garden Room' has provided them with a safe space. It is only just up and running but in due course will be filled with games, puzzles, books, arts and crafts and other items for students to interact with. It is also manned during the majority of lessons so students can use this as a quiet zone if they feel they cannot stay in a mainstream classroom. It will also be utilised for meetings with health or care professionals and parents of ASD students. The calming experience should prove popular and with only a limited number of students being able to use the space - a real lifeline for those who are able to use it”.

Our Lady of the Angels Creation of outdoor sensory safe space away from the busy nature of the playground. Provision to increase inclusivity for those children who struggle at break times, enhance Thrive provision and allow the children to access the curriculum in a meaningful way. 

“Our Sensory Garden was opened to the children a few weeks ago.   They have really appreciated the space. Children who really struggle during the un-timetabled parts of the day such as break times and lunchtime now have the opportunity to use our lunch club which now opens up to this beautiful space meaning they do not have to enter the large playground at all if they do not feel able to. It also means that those children do not have to be inside the whole time but can be outdoors which is even better for their mental health and well-being.”

St Margarets Academy Development of Speech an Language Therapy room.

Quote from Marie-Claire Christie – Speech & Language Therapy Teaching Assistant - “With the increase of children with speech and language needs, our temporary SALT room has made a world of difference to our setting. We now have a quiet, space which aids the communication potential for the children at St. Margaret's Academy. Children are seen individually or in small groups and the setting is used for formal assessment procedures, for certain interventions that are difficult to manage in a classroom setting. Most of these students need an environment that is quieter and contains less distraction than their normal classroom. Our temporary SALT room now offers an attractive, accessible environment which promotes a sense of belonging. However, although the room is accessible on 1st floor level to children with SEN and disabilities, staff and visitors and outside agencies, it is very small and we feel that the children would benefit from a larger working/meeting area with additional storage for a wide range of teaching resources. We are extremely pleased to have secured this space on a temporary basis and the benefits are already apparent”.

Eden Park Academy Creation of Sensory Room. The designated sensory space will allow pupils to access the movement and sensory breaks necessary to enable them to engage in learning when in the classroom.   

Quote from Charlotte Griffin – Assistant SEND Co-ordinator - “Eden Park have turned a large cupboard into a sensory room using the SEND accessibility funding. It is being enjoyed by children aged 2-11, who need sensory breaks in the day, to enable them to focus better in class. Children can use the large dark tent equipped with light- up toys to relax in a calm environment. Some children find a trip through the squeeze machine or a jump on the small trampoline helps them to feel better in themselves. Other children like to watch the bubble lamp change colours or like to listen to relaxing CD’s. The room is usually used for just one or two children at a time with adult supervision, but it has also worked well for a small group of children lying or sitting still and listening to a children’s meditation CD. Children and staff report that it has helped children to sustain their concentration in class and remain calm and happy throughout the day”.

Watcombe Primary School Creation of safe, defined areas for 3 x EHCP children in KS1 and LKS2.
Hayes Primary School Redesign and install gradual slope to reception entrance, level corner of field, resurface playground part astro/part tarmac for wheelchair user. This new ramp outside the reception class and pathway alongside the school field will allow children with disabilities and wheelchair users to be able to access the bottom playground and dinner hall.

Quote from Allison Grant – School Business Manager - “Our school received funding from Torbay Council via the SEN and Disability Grant.  This paid for a new ramp outside our reception class and pathway alongside our school field to allow children with disabilities and wheelchair users to be able to access the bottom playground and dinner hall. One pupil in reception has benefited massively from the new ramp which allows her to access the main reception playground independently.  She has a great time playing with her friends and can get in and out of the classroom freely.  Previously she had to go around the building and through other classrooms and this sometimes meant she missed some of her playtime. The access ramp along the side of the field has also made a great difference and this is used every day by pupils with disabilities, to get to the dinner hall.  Before this was installed, pupils had to walk through the whole school to get there using two stair-lifts and this took up a considerable amount of pupils’ lunch break and staff time. We are really pleased with the work that has been done.  It is great quality and has made a real positive difference to our pupils’ mobility and independence”.

Hayes Primary School Creation of nurture base. Bean bags and games, benching, body socks for sensory areas, equipment for sensory area.

Quote from Allison Grant – School Business Manager - “We also received funding to develop a nurture room for children to feel safe and secure to develop their individual needs. The funding paid for sofas, cushions, beanbags, weighted blankets, lamps and a selection of developmental toys so the children can play games and work collaboratively”.

Sherwell Valley Primary School Creation of large nurture unit.  Two areas to be refurbished to develop a small classroom area for up to 20 pupils with small designated outdoor play space. The newly created unit will allow children to receive the care and education specifically tailored to their individual needs in an environment with a significantly higher staff per child ratio than is possible in their own classroom. The school funded over half the Capital needed to complete the project.

Quote from Hannah Sennet – SEND Co-ordinator - “Our Nurture classroom is part of our school's offer to support children in developing their emotional well-being and regulation. Currently, our provision is accessible to Year 1, 2 & 3 children. In time, we envision that this resource will be accessed by Year 1 & 2 children as research shows that early intervention is the most effective. Our vision is to support our children in coping with past trauma, emotional development and social understanding in the early years of their education to then hopefully remove what could be large barriers to their learning as they progress through their school life. Already we have seen good progress in children's social skills and awareness of others and are hopeful that this will continue for many other children that would benefit from this fantastic resource”.   

Sacred Heart Primary Develop outdoor sensory area/garden.
Cockington Primary Creation of nurture unit.
Barton Hill Academy Conversion of existing rooms to create 2 enhanced pastoral rooms and a sensory/thrive area.
St Cuthbert Mayne Creation of nurture base for pupils with high SEMH needs.  Development of a nurture base from an existing office space, priority use given to EHCP and nurture group students in Y7 and Y8.

Quote from Sam Banks – Lead Practitioner for MFL and Differentiation/SEND - The Nurture Classroom is where our Y7 Nurture Group students have all their lessons that do not require specialist rooming (English, Maths, History, Geography and R.E.). This has given them vastly greater consistency and continuity in their experience as they transition from Primary to Secondary, as they spend a majority of their learning time in the same classroom with the same seating plan, expectations and resources. We used the money to clear and renovate a redundant classroom, fitting it out with state-of-the-art I.T. equipment and furniture chosen to give the feel of a Primary classroom. This provision has also allowed us to make other innovative additions to their curriculum, such as using their teachers’ changeover time between certain lessons to do a dynamic MFL input that gives them their entitlement to the experience of a foreign language. As well as settling in more successfully to life at STCM than has been the case for previous high-needs students, we have been really impressed with the quality of work this group is producing and the fantastic progress they have made so far this year has been really encouraging”.

St Cuthbert Mayne Creation of regulation base for pupils with high SEMH needs.  A regulation room and regulation areas will be developed in line with advice and guidance from the Timpson Attachment & Trauma Programme training.  Areas within the SEND, nurture and sixth form will be identified and age-appropriate regulation equipment and activities will be installed.  This will provide the therapeutic strategies and tools to enable students with SEMH to self-regulate.  These spaces will be multi-functional, allowing safe spaces for counselling, and for ‘Thrive’-type activities and meaningful restorative discussions to take place.

Quote from Sam Banks – Lead Practitioner for MFL and Differentiation/SEND - To make ‘The Ark’ we converted a former office in our Learning Support department to provide a space where dysregulated students can regulate. There are 4 ‘zones’: Calm, Tactile, A.V. and Study, and each zone is stocked with a range of furniture and equipment, from chew-llery to a blackout tent and our pet (cuddly toy) dog, X. This provision has been welcomed by our students with SEMH needs and is really well used, in a strategic way by our SEMH Champion, to help our students to learn to manage their anxiety and emotions throughout the day. We have already seen a positive impact on the behavioural outcomes of many of these students, as they use the provision increasingly to de-escalate or avert a potential dysregulated episode.

St Marychurch Primary School Enhancement of our Nurture style provision, particularly the breakout room; creating a safe, calming and sensory regulating room within the Nurture provision to allow children who are dysregulated to have a space that they can go to without feeling frightened or overwhelmed.  Resourced with lights, blinds/window covers, projections, cushions/soft mats, tactile toys, calming music, soft play equipment and safety items e.g. plug covers etc.
St Marychurch Primary School Redevelopment and enhancement of our currently underused environmental area into a dedicated area for specific children to develop and manage their SEMH needs in a different environment beyond the classroom.
Brixham College Development of enhanced provision for students on the Autistic Spectrum.