New special school for children with autism announced for Worcestershire

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A new special school that caters for the needs of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is to be built in Malvern.

The successful bid from Worcestershire County Council was announced today by the Department for Education. 

This announcement follows an application that evidenced need for school places for children and included engagement and support from stakeholders including education providers, health partners, parents and carers and Local MP’s who have been consistently calling for more provision in the local area.

The new special free school will provide 120 full time places for pupils aged 5 to 19 with autism, who are able to engage with a mainstream curriculum with extra support and who would also benefit from a specific environment and staff dedicated to a holistic approach.

The capital funding for the new school will be provided from the Government’s Free School Programme will also have a remit to provide outreach, which will focus on practical, specific strategies and resources to improve Quality First Teaching across Worcestershire settings.

Councillor Tracey Onslow, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education said: “I’m delighted the Department for Education have approved our proposal to establish a Special Free School in Malvern, and I’d like to thank our All Age Disability Service (0 to 25) and Sufficiency & Place Planning Team for their hard work and dedication on this proposal.

“We know that more tailored facilities in Worcestershire for those with special educational needs are key to how we move things forward and improve provision here, so this is great news both now and as we look forward to the future. Good quality specialist provision has a significant role in ensuring that children are educated in the right place at the right time with the right level of support, helping children to go on and reach their full potential.”

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “This is wonderful news which I know will be welcomed by the parents who have reached out to me about the challenges of supporting their children with Autism. I’ve been supporting this project for many years, and I am over the moon that this project will be moving forward in Malvern but offering hope to many families across the county who will benefit from this major financial investment.”

The new school will be located on a site of a former Primary School in Malvern with capital funding provided from the Department for Education’s Free School Programme.

The site is currently leased out to several providers who Worcestershire County Council will be working with to support the co-location or relocation of those services.

A final decision on who will run the new school will rest with the Secretary of State for Education.