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Views sought as council prepares to boost number of special needs school places by a further 250

With a forecast 25 per cent increase in the number of children needing specialist education by 2025, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is taking the first step towards commissioning a new special school.

The proposed special school will provide 250 places for those on the autistic spectrum, with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and with severe learning difficulties (SLD). It will be ‘all through’, with places from reception to year 13 (4 to 18 years).

Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: “Every child deserves the chance to learn and become a valued member of our community in a safe, caring, and healthy school environment.

“There is a presumption that this is a free school, independent from the council once established, and we are inviting academy trusts to consider whether they would like to bid to provide the school.”

This consultation opened today, Wednesday 4 May 2022, and closes on Friday 10 June.

The council’s cabinet will discuss the outcome of the consultation at its meeting on Tuesday, 14 June and, if it approves, the full free special school specification will be published for prospective sponsors.

It is proposed that the school will open for its first entry of pupils in September 2024.

To take part in the consultation visit the WNC Citizen Space - westnorthants.citizenspace.com - and search for “new special free school” or by scrolling through the list of open consultations.

If you are unable to complete the online consultation, a response form can also be requested via email – specialschool.consultation@westnorthants.gov.uk with the subject line ‘FAO new special free school presumption.’

Hard copies of the consultation are available on request by calling 0300 126 7000.

Any printed submissions should be posted to: New special free school presumption, West Northamptonshire council, One Angel Square, NN1 1ED.

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