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Multi-million pound programme continues to deliver hundreds of new special education places

Norfolk County Council, 31 January 2022 00:00

A five year multi-million pound council scheme has provided 247 new special education places with at least another 278 due to be delivered before the programme ends.

The £120 million SEND transformation programme pledged to improve inclusion in mainstream schools and deliver 500 new specialist places with at least three new-build special schools alongside expansions and improvements to existing schools.

Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Cllr John Fisher said: "The progress our programme has made in partnership with the schools, education trusts, building contractors and other partners we have worked with throughout is absolutely fantastic.

"There has been real determination and passionate drive to deliver all the many projects we are running we can provide a range of new specialist places for children at multiple locations right across the county.

"We very much hope this increased capacity with all these new places will make a real difference to the lives of children and young people with SEND and their families."

Just this week the new-build Duke of Lancaster School in Fakenham for children with autism opened its doors to 48 children. At full capacity, it will offer 100 new places to children aged from five to 16.

Bure Park Specialist Academy in Great Yarmouth opened in September last year for boys aged from five to 16 with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs. It initially welcomed 28 pupils in its first intake but will have a full capacity of 88.

Building work is due to start shortly on the third new school at Easton near Norwich. The county council is working with the Department for Education (DfE) to deliver The Bridge Easton School, with planned capacity for 170 children and young people aged four to 19 with cognition and learning needs and a specialist resource base for children with autism. It is due to open in Spring 2023.

An expansion of John Grant School in Caister will provide 24 additional places for children with complex needs. The work, which will include a new modular building containing six new classrooms and a shared teaching resource space, will start taking shape later this year.

A total of 11 new Specialist Resource Bases, which are special classrooms within mainstream schools, have been newly-built, improved, or expanded as part of the programme. Once operating at full capacity, they will have a combined offering of 138 new special education places.

These are:

  • Five autism SRBs at Redcastle Primary in Thetford, Thetford Academy, Drake Primary School in Thetford, Sprowston Infant, and Cromer Junior
  • Five bases for children with SEMH needs have opened at Edith Cavell Academy and Nursery in Norwich, Arden Grove Infant in Hellesdon, Wensum Junior Academy in Norwich, Caister Infant and Nursery and Caister Junior and Mundesley Infant and Junior
  • A Learning and Cognition (LCN) base at Hillcrest Primary in Downham Market.

The programme aims to open or expand a further seven SRBs at primary and secondary schools this year including new bases at Greyfriars Academy in King's Lynn and Millfield Primary in North Walsham.

New admissions for all schools and SRBs are through a county admissions panel.

Find out more about admission to special schools and specialist colleges.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:42

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