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New school for children with autism in North Norfolk proposed

17 July 2019

A new school for children with autism could be developed in Fakenham, as part of Norfolk County Council’s £120m investment in special educational needs.

The County Council is hoping to develop the brand new all age special school for children and young people with ASD on the former Fakenham VI Form site.

The ambition is part of the County Council’s bold plan to create 500 extra special educational needs school places in the county by building up to four new schools and creating more specialist units in mainstream schools.

Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr John Fisher said: “Creating a new school on this site would bring us closer to achieving our ambition that all children in Norfolk get a good education – and for them to go to school as close to where they live as possible.

“A new school here would help reduce the need for many children with autism in North Norfolk to travel very long distances to get to their school. That puts incredible pressure on families and the children in many ways - not least of which is maintaining friendships with peers in their own communities. It also increases the costs of placements and transport.

"It would also take pressure off those specialist schools and resource bases elsewhere in the county that are already doing such a great job in the face of ever-growing demand.”

Detailed surveys and designs for a new special school at Fakenham are being developed, along with proposals for the entire site. All plans are subject to consultation, engagement and approvals, including planning permission. In addition, a process to secure a sponsor to run the school would be required.

The County Council will work closely with the local community, including organisations, groups and individuals with close links to the site, as the plans develop.

Cllr Tom Fitzpatrick, Norfolk County Councillor for Fakenham added: “Children and families who live in Fakenham and its surrounding communities are already benefiting from the fantastic modern learning facilities at Fakenham Academy. It seems fitting that the old sixth form site should continue to be used for educational purposes – and look forward to seeing the developing plans for a specialist school dedicated to teaching children with autism.”

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