The Government approves county’s bid to create new special school

This story was published 2 March 2023

A bid to create a new school to provide specialist education to cope with growing demand in North Yorkshire has been approved today (2 March) by the government.

Former Northallerton school site on Grammar School Lane

We made the bid to the Department for Education’s (DfE) Special Free School programme to help to address the need for more provision for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Its success – part of an announcement by the Department for Education (DfE) of the approval of 33 new special free schools – is a move closer to an urgently needed specialist education centre for families in the Hambleton and Richmondshire area.

We currently have 10 special schools across the county serving young people with significant levels of need, plus targeted mainstream provision attached to 10 mainstream schools.

However, it is estimated an additional 350 specialist places will be needed in North Yorkshire in the next five years. The issue is particularly pressing in Hambleton and Richmondshire, where there are currently no specialist schools able to offer this form of education.

Our successful bid is to convert part of the former Northallerton School site on Grammar School Lane. The new school will cater for about 120 pupils aged from eight to 16 years.

The next stage of the process will see the council work alongside the Department for Education (DfE) in seeking proposals from organisations interested in establishing and running the new school.  

Executive member for education and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said: “This is exciting news for North Yorkshire, especially communities in the Hambleton and Richmondshire areas. This new free school will provide families and young people with a much-needed facility on their doorstep.

“Currently pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs in the area have to travel significant distances to access appropriate provision, placing stress on them and their families.

“We aim to open the school as soon as possible subject to the requirements of the process established by the Department for Education (DfE) under which we will, in due course, seek proposals from organisations interested in establishing and running the new school.”

In the meantime, any organisation interested in learning more about the application process should contact Create: Schools, the Department for Education's (DfE) supplier of support to free school applicants, which offers support and guidance at all stages of the application process. Fid out more information from Create: Schools.