Council welcomes news of new special school for Westmorland and Furness

Pupils at school

Westmorland and Furness Council has welcomed news that its bid for a new special school for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) has been successful.

Earlier, the government announced the locations of 16 new special free schools and trusts appointed at a further seven special schools that will provide thousands of vital places across England – with Westmorland and Furness Council’s bid chosen as one of the locations for a new special free school.

The council had applied to the Department for Education for a new special school with approximately 140 places for children aged 4-19 with autism and speech, communications and language difficulties.

The new school will provide dedicated support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and will add much needed capacity to special schools and enable more children to have their needs met closer to home.  

The location and design of the school are yet to be determined but the council is aiming for somewhere in the Eden area. The council will now work with the government, partners and SENDAC, parents and carers forum, to deliver the school.

Milorad Vasic, Director of Children’s Services at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “This is excellent news for our area. It means there’ll be a sizable and well-needed increase in the number of special school places for children and young people with SEND in Westmorland and Furness and I’m really looking forward to seeing this project through to completion.

“We don’t know where this school will be or what it will look like just yet, that’s to be determined, but we’ll keep residents updated on proposals.

“Westmorland and Furness Council is ambitious for all our children and continuing to improve the experiences and outcomes for children and families with SEND is a key priority.”  

Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “This announcement will be music to the ears of many parents in Westmorland and Furness.

“Our ambition as a council is that access to learning is available for all and not limited by disadvantage, additional needs, sparsity of population or transport, and this is a significant step in the right direction.”