Thousands of new school places are being created for children with special educational needs or those facing additional challenges in mainstream education, the Government has announced.
The education secretary Damian Hinds has announced the opening of 37 special free schools and two alternative provision free schools, which will create around 3,500 additional school places for pupils with complex needs.
‘Parents rightly want choice of where their child goes to school and to know that the education and support they receive will ignite that spark of potential that exists in all of us, so they can go on and succeed,’ said Mr Hinds.
‘We want every school to be a school for children with special educational needs and disabilities. That’s why we are investing significant funding into Special Education Needs units attached to mainstream schools and in additional support so children with education, health and care plans can access mainstream education.
‘But we recognise some children require more specialist support. These new special free schools and alternative provision schools will make sure that more complex needs can be provided to help support every child to have a quality education.’
Applications will now open in the 39 successful local authorities to find providers—including community groups, teachers, charities, existing education providers and other organisations—that will run them.
Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts, welcomed the announcement.
‘These additional school places will enable children with special needs and those facing difficulties to have access to high quality education provision,’ she said.
‘Over the past week, there has been much debate in the media about children and young people whose social, emotional and behavioural needs make them vulnerable.
‘Today’s announcement of a range of specialist provision in every region of the country is hugely welcome.’