The government has announced it is to create up to 3,000 new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed yesterday (19 July), he has approved 33 school trusts to open and run 37 new schools.
Two of these will be solely for children who have been or are at risk of being excluded from mainstream education, to level up their educational outcomes and to keep them engaged in learning.
The remaining 35 will help drive up standards in special education, providing support and teaching for pupils with complex needs such as autism, severe learning difficulties or mental health conditions.
The 35 new special free schools are expected to from September 2022 onwards and will give pupils with complex needs access to equipment that supports their individual needs such as sensory equipment and communication aids
The announcement builds on the success of the free school programme, which promotes innovation, with more than 500 already open across the country, including 44 special and 47 Alternative Provision (AP) free schools.
These new schools will take advantage of the freedoms and opportunities provided by the free school system to ensure that children with special educational needs and in AP are receiving the tailored support they need to fulfil their potential.
‘Now more than ever we need to make sure we are putting our most disadvantaged and vulnerable children first, including those with complex needs,’ said Mr Williamson.
‘We need to be more ambitious for these children, which is why we are delivering on this Government’s commitment to deliver more school places for children with complex special educational needs. This will give these young people the opportunity they deserve for tailored support in a school that responds to their individual needs, making them confident learners and engaged students.
‘At the same time, I also want to transform the experience of children who have been permanently excluded or are at risk of being removed from the classroom. These new schools, adding to the network of excellent free schools around the country, will help level up opportunities for children from all backgrounds so they can receive a world-class education,’ he added.
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