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Cabinet to discuss £23 million budget for a new special needs school

Children and families

08 September 2022

A child's hand in an Adults hand

The budget for a new 250 place school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is set to be discussed by the WNC Cabinet this month.

At the meeting planned for Tuesday, 13 September, the WNC Cabinet will consider the latest report on plans to convert an empty facility in Tiffield into a SEND school for children aged four to 18.

The unit will cater for children who are on the autistic spectrum (ASC) and have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), and those with severe learning difficulties (SLD).

The plans come in addition to a £1.1 million expansion and the creation of 50 new specialist places at Hunsbury Park Primary School, which was given the go ahead earlier this year.

A proposal has also been submitted to extend Northgate School Arts College in Queens Park Parade, Kingsthorpe which caters to almost 250 autistic students.

Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC’s Cabinet Member for children, families and education, said: "Tiffield provides a unique opportunity in terms of size and location.

"Situated where the need is greatest, families in West Northants will gain access to a facility built around the latest understanding of what’s best for children with ASC, SLCN and SLD and will provide them with a learning environment that will help them thrive throughout their lives.

"This new school sits alongside the expansion of five state-funded special schools and the expansion of places in mainstream schools to provide over 500 specialist places by 2024."

Following a consultation in May, qualified individuals and groups were asked to submit their proposals for operating the new school and in August, an assessment panel considered the proposals.

Following their recommendations WNC informed the Department for Education (DfT) of its preferred operator.

The Secretary of State is expected to make a final decision on the operator late October or early November this year.

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