New specialist school lay their foundations

Headteacher at the new Fakenham school

Former vice-principal and head of secondary at The Wherry School in Norwich, Robert Speck, will be the school’s headteacher. - Credit: SENDAT

A new school for children with special educational needs has revealed its new headteacher and when it will open.

The new SENDAT school in Fakenham has begun to lay its foundations, named its headteacher and announced when they hope to open.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Academies Trust is being built on the site of the former Fakenham Sixth Form College on Wells Road. R G Carter, the appointed contractor, started laying the foundations on-site in January, with plans to open the site in January 2022.

The modern specialist learning environment is part of Norfolk County Council's £120 million programme to transform special education.

a building site showing a building's foundation

The Duke of Lancaster site, in January, as the foundations are laid, - Credit: SENDAT

The school will be named Duke of Lancaster School, a nod to the market town’s past with the official name of Fakenham Lancaster being given to the town in 1377.


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The Duke of Lancaster title is already used by Fakenham Town Council and the town’s district wards are called Lancaster North and Lancaster South.

The school will cater for up to 100 children and young people, aged between five and 16, with autism and complex communication and interaction needs.

A CGI mock up what the school might look like

An artist's impression of what the new school in Fakenham could look like. - Credit: R G Carter

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The trust also announced that former vice-principal and head of secondary at The Wherry School in Norwich, Robert Speck, will be the school’s headteacher.

Mr Speck said, “The opportunity to help lead the creation of this at Duke of Lancaster School was very appealing and I am thrilled to have been appointed as Head of School.

“My vision for Duke of Lancaster School is to create a calm, safe and happy environment where everyone treats each other with kindness and respect.”

He has spent over a decade working in secondary education on the North Norfolk coast which included leadership roles such as special educational needs and disabilities coordinator.

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services. Picture: Norfolk County

Cabinet member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, John Fisher - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Cabinet member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, John Fisher, said, “It really is exciting to see how much progress is being made to open this new school, despite all the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“We are really looking forward to working with SENDAT and I feel confident this school will be a real asset to the North Norfolk area and a fantastic place for children to get the right education so they can fulfil their goals for the future.”

Construction is expected to complete in Autumn 2021.

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