Two new free schools to support children with SEN


Two new free schools will create 120 new places for children with complex special educational needs (SEN), the government has announced.

Children and Families minister Nadhim Zahawi has revealed two specialist schools will be built, one in Hounslow, London, and the other in Essex to help meet SEN requirements in those regions.

Designed to support children with the most complex emotional, social and mental health needs, the move should also increase the level of choice available to parents of children with SEN.

The move follows the announcement of an additional £350 million of support for schools to enhance facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) by education secretary Damian Hinds in December.

Mr Zahawi said that he wants all children to receive the education and support they need in order to achieve well and find employment. 

“The two new special free schools in Essex and Hounslow will help support children with these additional needs to get the skills they need to fulfil their potential,” he explained.

Both special free schools are due to open in September 2020 and are part of a government push to create one million new school places between 2010 and 2020.

The school in Hounslow will provide 64 specialist places for pupils with SEN aged between 11 and 19 years old and will be run by Orchard Hill College Academy Trust.

The Beckmead Trust – part of the Beckmead Family of Schools that already runs an ‘outstanding’ special school in Croydon – will run the other school in Chelmsford, Essex.

Set to be developed on what was the site of St Peter’s College, the new school will support a further 64 pupils with complex needs, who are aged seven to 16.

Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for education, children services and youth services, Councillor Tom Bruce, welcomed the prospect of a new school, saying that it will help to meet rising demand for SEN support in the area.