Plans are being drawn up for a new, purpose-built school for children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in North Yorkshire.
The proposed new school near Selby signifies a major investment in SEND education in the County. The Selby district currently lacks a special school, which means many children and young people face lengthy journeys to access facilities.
The creation of the new school is a key part of the County Council’s strategic plan for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision in North Yorkshire.
The purpose-built facility will be designed to support the needs of a wide age range of children with a range of disabilities and special needs. It is proposed the school will cater for up to 100 pupils, potentially aged three to 19, on landscaped grounds on land owned by North Yorkshire County Council adjacent to Hull Road in Osgodby, just outside Selby.
With rising demand for special education, there is a pressing demand for a new school in the Selby district.
There are currently 3,574 children in North Yorkshire with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, which is a 102 per cent increase on the same point in 2015.
This number is expected to rise by a further 24 per cent over the next five years, from 3,574 presently, to 4,225 children and young people in 2026.
The greatest areas of increase are in pupils with identified communication and interaction needs and children with identified social, emotional and mental health needs.
In July, the Secretary of State announced an academy sponsor had been approved to run the new school. Wellspring Multi Academy Trust are now working with the Department for Education and North Yorkshire County Council to design the school which they will operate following its opening. Wellspring Multi Academy Trust have a proven track record of running ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools across both the mainstream and specialist sector.
Mark Wilson, Chief Executive of Wellspring Academy Trust, said: “We are proud to have been chosen to deliver this much needed school in North Yorkshire.
“Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities deserve the very best support to enable them to meet their potential and thrive.
“The investment in this new school will provide exactly that. As a multi-academy trust with vast experience in both building new schools and delivering outstanding SEND education, we are confident that we can offer pupils and their families something exceptional. We’re looking forward to getting the school up and running and welcoming our first pupils.”
Cllr Steph Duckett, Member for the Selby Barlby division, said: “We know there are children with special education needs in the Selby district who are starting their school day with a long journey, usually to Harrogate or Knaresborough, picking up other pupils along the way and repeating the journey at the end of the day. These long journeys - undertaken by some of our most vulnerable children - have an impact on the amount of quality family time they have.
“This proposed new school will provide the kind of high-quality facilities and education our children in Selby deserve.
“It would mean families no longer have to travel long distances, or out of the county, to find the special education their children need. There is a high demand for special needs school places in the Selby area and this demand will only increase as time goes on.
“It will also mean some of our most vulnerable children will have somewhere near their families, friends and local communities where they can thrive and achieve and we are looking forward to this school becoming a reality for families in the area.”
Executive Member for Education and Schools, Cllr Patrick Mulligan said: “Having a special school in the Selby area will bring significant benefits for children and young people with education, health and care plans. It will enable them to go to school in their community and with their friends, which will also support their social and emotional wellbeing.
“It will reduce travelling time and, therefore, the time children spend away from their home and community. There will also be greater opportunity to have health needs met locally, to be part of community events and developments and to prepare for adulthood in their own area.
“The school signifies a huge investment in SEND and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create bespoke, high quality special education provision for young people in their local area, which should meet their needs for many years to come.
“For parents and carers, there will be more opportunity to develop relationships with the school and improved choice in provision for young people with education, health and care plans.”