This Impact Assessment is a working live document which will be updated throughout project delivery.
The Department for Education (DfE) approved, under the Wave 2 Special Education Needs Free School programme, the delivery of a 120 place special free school for learners aged 7-16 years of age with high functioning autism. The submission bid was originally proposed for Plymouth Local Authority but this was extended to Devon County Council on the condition that DCC was able to secure a suitable site at nil cost to the Department and that the school would serve learners from both Devon and Plymouth with it being located as close to the border with Plymouth LA as practicable.
The free school programme will be centrally administered and funded by the DfE but Devon County Council needs to provide the school site.
Funding has been identified in the DCC Medium Term Capital Programme to purchase a site.
Following an extensive land search by South West Norse, a suitable site was identified at Rutt Lane, Ivybridge. The 2.08 ha site is to the south of the B3213 on the eastern edge of Ivybridge Town. Outline planning permission was secured for the school in January 2023.
Further to lengthy negotiations with the Landowners through South West Norse, a site value has been agreed and approval for additional funding is required. funded from the unallocated High Needs Block SEND Capital allocations approved within the Medium Term Capital Programme.
If the site is purchased the DfE will design and construct the new school. Subject to the Secretary of State entering into a Funding Agreement, the earliest opening date for the new school is September 2025. Once the school is built, Devon County Council will have control of commissioning the new places. The Secretary of State has previously agreed that the school will be established and run by the Special Partnership Trust Special Partnership Trust – Home