More than 1600 SEND (special educational needs and disability) school places will be created across England as the government opens applications to run new free schools.
Nineteen local authorities will be accepting applications to run the SEND schools as part of the government's ambitious free schools programme, which aims to provide high-quality provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Schools system minister, Lord Nash, said: "Free schools are providing many good new school places in response to the needs of communities across the country. This process will give local authorities the chance to identify expert organisations with proven track records in SEND provision to run special schools that will help hundreds of children fulfil their potential."
Organisations ranging from successful Multi-Academy Trusts to specialist charitable organisations will have until 24th November to apply, setting out how they will meet the specification for each project.
Criteria has been developed by local authorities, in conjunction with the Department for Education, to ensure they meet the needs of each local community, and provide much-needed places for special educational needs and disability pupils.
Among the special free school specifications published today are:
- A 200-place school with both early years and post-16 places for pupils between the ages of three and 19 in the Borough of Bedford.
- A 100-place school with post-16 provision for pupils between the ages of five to 19 with complex communication and interaction needs, Autism spectrum disorder and other social and mental health needs in Doncaster.
- A 125-place school for pupils between the ages of four and 16 with social communication needs and Autism spectrum disorder in Hampshire.
- A 150-place school with early years and post-16 provision for pupils between the ages of two to 19 with Autism spectrum disorder in Croydon.
The new schools are part of the most-recent wave of free schools approved in April, and are separate from government plans to open 30 free schools in partnership with local authorities – as recently announced by Education Secretary, Justine Greening.