North Yorkshire to submit bid for new special school

This story was published 21 September 2022

We are to submit a bid for a new special school to be included in the Government’s next Special Free School programme.

An aerial view of the former Northallerton school site on Grammar School Lane.

If successful, our application to the Department for Education (DfE) would see an urgently needed specialist education centre created for families in Hambleton and Richmondshire.

Our application was approved by the executive yesterday (Tuesday, 20 September.)

The Department for Education is currently inviting local authorities to apply to join the next wave of Free School building before the application process closes on 21 October. It is expected it will result in 60 schemes across the country being approved via a competitive application process.

North Yorkshire is in urgent need for more provision for young people with social, emotional and mental health needs and it is estimated an additional 350 specialist places will be needed 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.

We are proposing to convert part of the former Northallerton school site on Grammar School Lane, after having explored other sites and buildings across the district and finding no other suitable options. It would cater for about 120 pupils aged from eight to 16-years-old.

Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, executive member for education and skills, said: “There is increasing demand for specialist education for young people with Social Emotional and Mental Health needs. If North Yorkshire’s application to the Special Free School building programme is successful, it will provide families and young people in Hambleton and Richmondshire with much-needed specialist provision on their doorstep.”

Jane le Sage, assistant director for inclusion said: “We are keen to submit a proposal with the Department for Education for the development of a new special school.

“Currently pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs in the Hambleton and Richmondshire district have to travel significant distances to access appropriate provision, placing an unnecessary stress on pupils and their families.”