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Apply to open our new special free schools

Norfolk is embarking on an exciting and ambitious transformation of SEND locally.

As part of this, we are opening up to four new special schools in Norfolk. One of these schools is being established under the Department for Education (DfE) national special and AP free school wave. Other schools are being established using the local authority presumption route.  

If you are an existing or potential approved academy sponsor, you can find out more about our schools and how to apply below.

New autism/complex communication and interaction needs free school

We invited strong, inclusive academy sponsors to apply to operate a new all-through special free school for children with complex special educational needs, with a primary need of autism or complex communication and interaction needs. This school will have up to 100 places and be located in Fakenham, Norfolk.

We held an information event for potential sponsors on 23 September 2019 which was well attended.

The deadline for sponsors to submit their applications has now passed.

The details of all applications were sent to the DfE on 18 November 2019, interviews for successful sponsors will start in early February 2020 and the Secretary of State will make the final decision by end April 2020.

Special free school - cognition and learning

We invited strong, inclusive academy sponsors to apply to operate a new, all-through special free school for children with complex special educational needs. The school will be for 170 learners with a primary need of cognition and learning, ranging from moderate to severe and, in some cases, profound and multiple. The school will include a specialist unit for learners with autism, learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.

We held an Information event for potential sponsors on 11 June which was well attended.

The deadline for applications has now passed.

Interviews for successful sponsors will start in autumn 2019 with approved applications being announced winter 2019/20.

New social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) free school

We invited applications to sponsor a new special free school for learners with complex emotional, social and mental health difficulties in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The deadline for sponsors to submit their applications has now passed.

We held an Information event for potential sponsors on 11 June which was well attended.

The initial assessment of applications took place in September and shortlisted applicants were invited to interview at the end of September. The recommended bidder will be notified to the DfE by 4 October 2019.

The DfE will make the final decision by 18 November 2019.

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