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SEND Capital Programme update February 2022

In April 2019 Suffolk County Council agreed to develop a continuum of provision based on pathways which would provide additional specialist education places across Suffolk to meet growing demand. This is through the establishment of new special schools or through specialist units in mainstream schools. The framework for specialist provision for our Suffolk children and young people is below:


For further information on the current provision with Suffolk and how they can support then please follow this link Specialist Education in Suffolk

This development was split in to two phases and we are nearing completion of Phase 1. This academic year we have all experienced significant challenges, and the knock on effect of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some unfortunate delays to our developments. Despite this, with the support and drive from all involved, the developments that were due for this year are almost complete. An overview of what has been developed so far this year is as follows:


  • Castle EAST – Communication and Interaction school in Bungay. This experienced some delays however is now open. This school will continue to grow over the next couple of years – it opened this year for 40 pupils, and from September 2022 they will be able to support an additional 40 pupils, and 40 the following the year – totalling 120 places once complete.
  • Copleston High School – This is our new KS3/4 Communication and Interaction unit for 18 pupils which opened in the Autumn term 2021 and is being delivered in partnership with Raedwald Trust.
  • Exning Primary School – Reception/KS1 specialist unit in Newmarket. This opened up for new pupils at the start of September and has been developed for 12 pupils.
  • Saxmundham Free School – two units have been developed - one for KS3/4 Communication and Interaction for 18 pupils and one for KS3/4 Cognition and Learning for 18 pupils. Pupils allocated for this academic year transitioned in to the new units in November 2021.
  • Beccles Free School – Unit for KS3/4 Cognition and Learning opened in September 2021 for 18 pupils.
  • Mendlesham Primary School – New unit for KS2 Cognition and Learning or 18 pupils opened and transitioned pupils in for November 2021, being delivered in partnership with SENDAT.
  • Stowupland High School – A KS3/4 Cognition and Learning unit opened for 18 pupils in October 2021, being delivered in partnership with SENDAT.
  • Woodhall Primary School – New unit for KS2 Communication and Interaction for opened for 18 pupils in January 2022.
  • The Ashley School – Additional classroom provision built to enable increase in places for children in KS2 and KS3 with Cognition and Learning needs. This was completed in September 2021 and offers an additional 24 places.

In addition to the above which are now complete, we have some still under development. Detail on these are as follows:


  • St Edmunds RC Primary School – At this school in Bury St Edmunds we are in the process of creating two new units, one Reception/KS1 unit for 12 pupils and one KS2 Cognition and Learning unit for 18 pupils. The building is underway and we have pupils allocated to start in the KS2 unit at the start of the Summer term 2022. The R/KS1 unit will open in September 2022.
  • Chantry Academy – This 18 place KS3/4 Cognition and Learning unit is in the process of being built, and is due to be completed towards the end of March 2022. Pupils have been allocated and started with the school in September 2022, receiving their education and support at Murrayside Community Centre until building works are complete. During this time pupils have started to have some access to the mainstream elements within Chantry with support.
  • Oulton Broad – This will be a R/KS1 specialist which is now due to open in the academic year of 2022/23. We have experienced significant delays in the development of this unit, the school and all teams involved are working closely together to secure completion as soon as is feasibly possible.
  • Sir Peter Hall – This is our new special school within Bury St Edmunds to support those with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties. This build is nearing completion and pupils will able to attend their new school from September 2022. For the first year the school will be able to support 40 pupils, opening up for further 40 pupils the following year.
  • Woodbridge Road Academy – This new school will cover the Ipswich area for those with Communication and Interaction needs. It was due to open in September 2022, however delays have been experienced with this development. We are working closely with the school and all stakeholders involved and secured provision within the Murrayside Community Centre from September 2022 so those pupils who have been allocated can begin to receive the education and support that they require. We are currently working towards a completion for the school of March 2023. Once fully open the school will be able to support 60 pupils.
  • Chalk Hill – This is currently an Alternative Provision (AP) setting, however the Trust are working with SCC to build new educational provision to develop a school for 48 pupils who have complex Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs and ASD. Currently this is still awaiting approval as to whether this is a provision that will be developed, therefore at present there is no anticipated completion date for this development.
  • Horizon School – In the North of Suffolk, the Pupil Referral Units have been merged together and we are in the process of combining all provision in to one site. This development includes part new build and it is anticipated that this project will be completed by January 2023.


All of the above, and those that were developed for September 2020 are all part of the developments planned within Phase 1 of this programme. In order for us to progress on to Phase 2 to complete the project, the LA and all parties involved will be reviewing the impact of the project so far. This will include looking at current numbers and profile of need of the pupils accessing these new provision, looking at what the demand continues to be along with gaining feedback from the provisions themselves. We will also be looking at gaining the views of the families of those who have pupils accessing these provisions. Following on from this review the LA will be able to identify what additional provision is required for us to focus on for Phase 2.


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