Our Plans to Develop New Specialist Education Places in Suffolk
Whilst there have been significant developments in developing a number of specialist units and new schools in Suffolk we still do not have enough specialist education places in Suffolk to meet the needs of all the children who need them. This means that some children continue to have to wait a long time to secure a specialist placement and others have to travel a long way from their home community. We know that it is better for children to be able to learn closer to home and we want to reduce the times that children have to wait for a specialist placement once it has been decided this is the best option for them, so we are developing plans to increase the number of places locally.
Short Term Developments
In the meantime, there are some new placements we know that we need to continue whilst longer term units and schools are established. A list of the types of places we are developing through this competition is included in the Special Provision Plan that we have started to develop. You can find a link to this plan at the bottom of this page.
New Specialist Schools
The Bobby Robson School: In September 2020 we opened a new special school in Ipswich for children aged 9 to 16 years who have social emotional and mental health and behaviour support needs. This has created 60 new specialist places.
Castle East School: In September 2021 we will open a new special school in Bungay for children aged 9-16 with communication and interaction needs. This will initially create 40 places growing to 80 from September 2022.
New Specialist Free School in Ipswich: Suffolk County Council and the Department for Education have recently completed the process to select the site and provider of a new free school in Ipswich catering for pupils with very complex needs in terms of social, emotional and mental health and a highly therapeutic offer. This will be a new school built in Lindbergh Road, Ipswich, information is available on the DfE website.
How we will find the capital funds to develop new places
If we need to build a new school this costs several millions of pounds and the most likely way we can fund this is by gaining agreement from the Department for Education (DfE) to fund a new free school. This is the way the new specialist free school in Ipswich mentioned above will be funded. However, if we create smaller specialist units linked to existing education providers this often only requires small amounts of capital. They have asked us to complete a planning spreadsheet called a Special Provision Plan Template in order to release this funding.