Government announces free schools plan

13 Mar 19

The education secretary has announced 39 new free schools will be set up for children with special education needs and behavioural difficulties.

About 3,500 spaces are expected to be created by the 37 ‘special free schools’ and two ‘alternative provision’ free schools, Damien Hinds announced on Monday.

Hinds said: “We want every school to be a school for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

“But we recognise some children require more specialist support. These new special free schools and alternative provision schools will make sure that more complex needs can be provided to help support every child to have a quality education.”

Leora Cruddas, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts, said: “These additional school places will enable children with special needs and those facing difficulties to have access to high quality education provision.”

Of the 37 specialist schools, three will be in the North East, six will be in the North West and five will be in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Bidding will be now opened to providers, such as community groups, teachers, charities and existing education providers, in the 39 local authority areas where the schools will be situated.

The announcement comes at a time knife crime in England and Wales is at its highest for eight years. Government figures showed there were 40,100 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England Wales in the year ending 2018 - the highest number since the year ending March 2011 (33,000).

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