New special schools set for Ipswich and Chelmsford in Government’s latest free-school drive

One of the free schools will be built on the former Holywells High School site in Ipswich, next to I

One of the free schools will be built on the former Holywells High School site in Ipswich, next to Inspire Suffolk. Picture: Phil Morley - Credit: Archant

Three new special schools are set to be established in the region as part of the Government’s plans to launch scores of new free schools nationwide.

The Department for Education announced as part of its 131 new free schools that 20 local authorities were setting up special schools – with Suffolk and Essex among those confirmed.

In Suffolk, a 60-place special free school is being set-up in east Ipswich on the former Holywells High School site in Lindbergh Road, next to Inspire Suffolk.

The school will cater for those aged between eight and 16 with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Sue Cook, director for children and young people at Suffolk County Council said: “We are thrilled to have received investment from the Department for Education, for a new social emotional and mental health (SEMH) free school to be built in east Ipswich.

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“This is fantastic news as there is a high demand for a special school in this area of the county. The school will be built on the old Holywells High School site in Lindbergh Road.”

In Essex, two new special free schools will create places for more than 140 pupils.

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In Chelmsford the SEAX multi-academy trust has been approved for its bid to create a 70-place special school next to the existing Thriftwood College. Specialising in teaching children with autism and high levels of anxiety, the school aims to be open in time for September 2018.

Elsewhere in mid-Essex, Chatten Free School is being established by the Market Field Learning Community in for those aged between three and 19 with autism and complex learning needs, with a site yet to be found.

An expression of interest has also been approved for a third special free school in Essex on the former St Peter’s College site in Chelmsford.

An Essex County Council spokesman said the schools would meet the increasing demand for place, and added: “The approval of these free schools is a huge boost to our efforts to create a network of special schools that the county can be proud of.”

Sponsors are now being sought for the Ipswich site, while Essex County Council has opened up bids for sponsors interested in running the St Peter’s site free-school.

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