A NEW school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is set to be built in Middlewich after a bid from Cheshire East Council.

The successful bid to secure Government backing means the Department for Education will now build two new special schools – one in Middlewich and one in nearby Congleton – which will create 120 places for children and young people from five to 19 years old.

The new schools will support children and young people requiring an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and enable children and young people to remain within Cheshire East and avoid the need to travel a longer distance to go to school.

The first school will be located at Cledford House in Middlewich and will provide 60 places for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Currently, around 25 percent of children with an EHCP have this need.

The second school will be located on the Giantswood housing development site in Congleton and will provide 60 places for children and young people with autism spectrum condition.

Around 25 percent of children with an EHCP, also have this need.

Deborah Woodcock, executive director of children’s services at Cheshire East Council, said: “This is great news, as the two schools will provide much needed local places for children and young people with special educational needs. 

“Our aim is for all schools to be more inclusive, offering the right support to meet the needs of all children and young people. 

“By doing this, children can attend a local school, reducing the pressure on school transport costs and our high needs dedicated school grant.

“Both of these are currently overspent due to the increase in demand and lack of local provision.

“We know that having the right school for all children and young people is key to supporting them to achieve their potential and help them to develop the range of skills and experiences they need to equip them for adulthood.

“Alongside the Department for Education, we are now seeking proposals from organisations which are interested in establishing and running the new schools.” 

The next stage in the process is to advertise the opportunity for trusts to apply to establish the new schools.

Government guidance states that the final decision to open any free school depends on the Secretary of State formally entering into a funding agreement with the chosen academy trust.

The council is reaching out to multi academy trusts who may be interested in running the schools.

For further information, contact Create: Schools – the Department for Education’s supplier of support to free school applicants online.