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New partnership brings new free school a step closer


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An exciting partnership between Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and The Special Partnership Trust brings a new free school a step closer

The innovative partnership will deliver a special school providing 120 places for children aged from 5 to 16. The school will become a centre of educational excellence for pupils who have a significant level of ASD and Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.

In a statement the Department for Education confirmed the Special Partnership Trust has been chosen to work with Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council to deliver this resource. Devon County Council is working hard to secure a suitable site well located to serve both Devon’s and Plymouth’s children and young people.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet member for schools, Andrew Leadbetter, said:

“This is part of a multi-million programme by the county council to open new special schools and increase the number of places in our existing special schools.

This means some of our most vulnerable children can have the education and care they deserve closer to their homes and communities and it reduces our reliance on expensive, private provision. This is a real, joined-up partnership between Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and the Government to provide extra special school places for this part of south west Devon.”

Plymouth City Councillor Dave Downie , said:

“We are delighted to see that big progress has been made in moving forward this innovative partnership. Children in Plymouth City with specific needs will benefit from the new provision when it is ready. It is one of our top priorities to meet every child’s need enabling them to achieve best outcomes.”

Executive Director of the Special Partnership Trust, Guy Chappell, said:

“The Trust has a track record of providing high quality educational provision and this is an exciting opportunity to extend the high-quality offer. The Trust has been working very hard to develop the strategy, the resources, and the capacity to develop and meet the needs of children, young people and families.

“This announcement endorses the work of the Trust schools, staff and the wider community. The development of the Free School marks the next phase of the Trust’s development. Whilst the current period is very challenging, these are exciting times for the development of SEN education in Devon and Plymouth.”

All pupils who attend the school will be placed by Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council equitably and have education, health and care (EHC) plans. Council staff are already working closely with the Department for Education on the design for a smart, purpose-built new school building.


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