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Scores of new school places for children with autism to be created in Norfolk

07 June 2019

Ninety new specialist school places for children with autism are set to be created at Norfolk’s mainstream schools, as Norfolk County Council’s £120m investment in special educational needs gains pace.

Norfolk’s primary and secondary schools are being invited to submit bids to create ten new specialist resource bases within their schools to provide up to 170 new school places for children with special educational needs.

The bidding process is part of Norfolk County Council’s ambitious investment programme to transform education for children with special needs and disabilities in Norfolk by creating more than 500 additional school places.

Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council said: “This is a really important step in the delivery of our transformation programme.

“Creating this extra capacity will help us deliver our vision to create a county where all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities have the chance to reach their potential and thrive, just like any other youngster.  And to also give parents the confidence that their children will have access to good quality education – and as close to where they live as possible, rather than having to travel long distances to go to school.”

As well as the specialist bases, the Council’s programme involves the development of up to four new special schools and provision of more outreach services.

A key part of the strategy is to create more places for children with autistic spectrum disorder.  This includes proposals for an 20 extra secondary places in the east of the county, 10 new primary and 20 secondary places each in the west and south of the county and 10 additional new primary places in Breckland.

These extra places for children with autism will be in addition to those created with the planned development of a new 90-place school for children with autism in the north of the county.

Bids are also being sought from schools to create more than 50 new places for children with social, emotional and mental ill difficulties, including for those who have suffered early life trauma.

These will also be in addition to the places that will be created at the Alderman Swindell site in Great Yarmouth, where work is currently underway to select a sponsor for the running of the school.

Schools are also being invited to submit bids to create a new primary specialist unit for children with cognition and learning difficulties in the west and/or north of the county.

Schools are being asked to submit their proposals by the end of July. Successful bids will be selected in spring 2020 and the new places could be up and running by September 2020 or January 2021, if planning approval and building work is required.

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