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Free school for children with special educational needs given the go ahead to be built on St Edwards's academy site

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:54 18 April 2019

St Edward's Church of England Academy, Romford. Picture: Google Maps

St Edward's Church of England Academy, Romford. Picture: Google Maps

Google Maps

A new special free school has been given the green light to be built on the site of a secondary school.

A Cabinet meeting was held on Wednesday, April 17, where cabinet members approved the proposal for the new school for children with special educational needs and disabilities, to be based on the site of St Edward's Church of England Academy, London Road, Romford.

This school, which will accommodate 60 young people aged three-16, will be the fourth of its kind to open in the borough.

Cabinet member for education, children and families, Councillor Robert Benham said: “This is welcome news as it means that we will be able to meet the needs of up to 60 local young people who have specialist needs.

“Many children who are currently schooled outside of the borough will be able to remain a part of the community where they live and have grown up.

“Our most recent records show that Havering is supporting 1,534 children with the number of children with special educational needs growing faster than forecasted.

“A new school will take the pressure off the existing three special educational needs schools which are full to capacity and significantly reduce the cost of sending pupils to schools outside of the borough, while ensuring children receive the specialist help they need.”

Despite previously looking at other options for the new school, in April last year, when St Edward's school joined the Unity Schools Partnership Trust, which was then known as the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, it was decided the academy's site would be better suited to the build.

In order to accommodate the school, which is predicted to cost £8.5m, the academy's music block will have to be demolished and either rebuilt elsewhere or held within the existing building.

It is estimated that Havering Council will pay around £800,000 to the academy in compensation.

Currently, 1006 pupils - 2.6per cent of the overall school population - have been assessed by the local authority as having more complex Sen (special educational needs) that are being educated in mainstream or special schools.

Funding will come from the government's Education Skills and Funding Agency.

The school will open in 2022.

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