Two new schools are expected to open in Suffolk, to provide support for children with special educational (SEND) needs.

The new free schools are one step closer to opening as the trusts have been selected to run them.

The schools will provide specialist support for children with autism, learning difficulties, mobility difficulties and more to meet their extra needs. 

The news comes after a damaging Ofsted report into Suffolk's services for children with SEND criticised "widespread and/or systemic failings" in the local area partnership in January.

The Unity Schools Partnership will sponsor the new Unity SLD School, which will provide 126 new places in Suffolk for pupils aged three and 16 with severe learning difficulties.

While the location of the school is yet to be determined, the partnership has confirmed it will be in east Suffolk.

Earlier this month, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced successful applications for new alternative provision (AP) free schools in the spring Budget – which included a new SENDAT new AP free school in Bury St Edmunds, expected to create 90 places.

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Dr Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership, said: “Congratulations to the trust special schools’ staff for giving the department the confidence to approve the trust to open this new special school.

“It will be a little sister to The Bridge School in Ipswich, also a school for children with severe learning difficulties, which provides excellent education for children who most need excellence.”

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for education and SEND at Suffolk County Council, added: “This is great news for Suffolk. We are delighted that the Department for Education has approved two applications from SENDAT and Unity Schools Partnership.

East Anglian Daily Times: Councillor Andrew ReidCouncillor Andrew Reid (Image: Suffolk County Council)

“On top of this, Suffolk County Council has invested millions of pounds in creating new specialist places for SEND students, so that children and young people get the right type of school place to meet their needs.

“We know the life-changing impact that a successful special school can have on pupils and families and are committed to making sure that every child in Suffolk reaches their potential.”