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New Norfolk specialist school moves step closer

PUBLISHED: 17:39 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:46 02 July 2020

Proposed visuals for the new SEN school in Fakenham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Proposed visuals for the new SEN school in Fakenham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

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A proposed new school for children and young people with autism has moved a step closer after a specialist academy trust was appointed to run it.

Proposed visuals for the new SEN school in Fakenham. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilProposed visuals for the new SEN school in Fakenham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

SENDAT, a multi-academy trust in special education and specialist provision in the eastern region, will operate the school to be built on the former Fakenham College sixth form playing field site, which has not been used in 20 years.

The proposed school would cater for up to 100 children and young people aged 5-16 with autism, complex communication and interaction needs in north Norfolk as well as creating up to 55 new jobs.

It is subject to planning and other approvals, but the formal planning application process and associated consultation is well underway, with a decision expected shortly.

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

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If approved, the new school could start accepting pupils from early 2022.

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Lawrence Chapman, chief executive officer of SENDAT, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the sponsor for this new school in Fakenham.

Proposed visuals for the new SEN school in Fakenham. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilProposed visuals for the new SEN school in Fakenham. Picture: Norfolk County Council

“We are already running very successful schools and currently teaching over 400 students in Suffolk with a wide range of special needs including students with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and associated difficulties.

“We are excited at the prospect of being able to do so in Norfolk and very much looking forward to working with Norfolk County Council and engaging with the local community over the next few weeks and months to keep everyone informed of our plans to deliver an outstanding special school in Fakenham.”

Local county councillor Tom FitzPatrick said: “Fakenham is proud to be the host for this much needed and very important new school and I know the community will be looking forward to getting to know SENDAT in the near future.”

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The school is part of an ambitious plan by Norfolk County Council to transform special educational needs and address the ever-increasing demand for specialist education.

This includes investing £120 million in creating 500 additional specialist places at new and mainstream schools, working closely with schools to ensure they have the resources they need to provide local special needs education.

John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are absolutely committed to making Norfolk’s special educational needs provision better, working with our partners across education, health and of course those families who need to know their children can get the right education so they can fulfil their goals for the future.”


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