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Two new special schools for Norfolk children with SEND get the go ahead

Norfolk County Council, 23 August 2023 00:00

A total of 270 new specialist education places will be created in Norfolk after a Government announcement that it has approved bids from the county council for two new special schools.

The council submitted proposals to the Department for Education (DfE) for a new school at Great Yarmouth and a second at Downham Market as part of its £100m six-year Local First Inclusion special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) improvement programme.

DfE confirmation has now been received that the schools will be built and funded by the Government's free school programme.

Cllr Penny Carpenter, cabinet member for Children's Services, said: "We are really delighted the Government has agreed to our proposals for these two much-needed new special schools.

"Creating more specialist provision for children and young people with higher needs SEND is vital to making sure this group have the best support to flourish in their education and adult life.

"Our ambitious Local First Inclusion programme aims to make sure all children and young people have the right school place to suit their needs as close to their homes as possible."

The Government has agreed to the council's proposal for a school at Downham Market with 100 places for children aged five to 18 with communication and interaction needs. A second school is proposed for Great Yarmouth with 170 places for children with complex needs aged from three to 19. It is proposed that the schools would open in September 2026.

Work will now proceed for land acquisition and planning permission and a process will be opened for multi-academy trusts to bid to run the schools.

The council's bid for the schools was made as part of its £100m Local First Inclusion programme which pledges to deliver hundreds of new specialist education places at special schools, specialist resource bases (SRBs) and alternative provision (AP) bases. It also aims to provide significantly more advice, support and funding for mainstream schools to support inclusion with 15 new school and community support teams introduced to give early help and support to both parents and schools.

The two new schools mean five new special schools will have been delivered for Norfolk within five years creating 628 new places once operating at full capacity.

The council-built Bure Park Specialist Academy for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs in Great Yarmouth, which opened in September 2021 and Duke of Lancaster Academy for children with autism in Fakenham, which opened in January 2022. And it put a successful free school bid together to the DfE for the building of The Bridge Easton School for children with learning and cognition needs which opened at Easton near Norwich in January 2023.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:46

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