Revealed: The 37 special and AP free schools approved by the DfE

Two areas promised special schools have missed out after competitions to find sponsors were unsuccessful.

The Department for Education yesterday approved 37 new special and alternative provision schools to open from September 2022, providing more than 3,000 extra places. (See full list below).

The government had promised to deliver schools in 39 areas to help meet rising demand for SEND places.

But two areas, Bromley and Shropshire, failed to recruit a sponsor to run a school in their region. The government has pledged to re-run the competitions.

Of the schools announced yesterday, two will be solely for pupils who have been or are at risk of exclusion: one run by the YMCA George Williams Academy in Warwickshire, and another run by Rivers of CoE Academy Trust, in Worcestershire.

Three trusts have been given approval to open multiple schools. The Wellspring Academy Trust will run a school in each of north Lincolnshire, north Yorkshire and Sheffield, while the Beckmead Trust and Special Partnership Trust both have two schools.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said “we need to make sure we are putting our most disadvantaged and vulnerable children first, including those with complex needs”.

“These new schools, adding to the network of excellent free schools around the country, will help level up opportunities for children from all backgrounds so they can receive a world-class education.”

The 37 new schools will add to the 44 special and 47 AP free schools already open and the 49 special and 8 AP free schools in the pipeline, the government said. On completion, it takes the total number of special free schools to 128.

But Schools Week revealed the majority of areas rejected last year for new special schools under this wave were facing secondary places shortfalls.

We also revealed how a lack of state-funded places was forcing councils to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to send pupils to independent special schools.



Here’s the full list:

Region                                           Academy trust/sponsor

Essex The Beckmead Trust
Newham Learning in Harmony Multi Academy Trust
Norfolk The Bridge London Trust
Suffolk Paradigm Trust
Kingston upon Hull Humber Education Trust
Leicestershire Community Inclusive Trust
North Lincolnshire Wellspring Academy Trust
Sheffield Wellspring Academy Trust
Bury Shaw Education Trust
Halton Youth Engagement Schools Trust
Leeds Co-op Academies Trust
Rochdale Newbridge Multi Academies Trust
Salford Kings Academy Trust
Stockport Prospere Learning Trust
Warrington The Sovereign Trust
Hartlepool Spark of Genius Academy Trust
North Yorkshire Wellspring Academy Trust
Northumberland Prosper Learning Trust
Tees Valley River Tees
Hertfordshire James Marks Academy
Oxfordshire The Gallery Trust
Reading Maiden Erlegh Trust
Bexley Trinitas Academy Trust
Bromley None
Kingston upon Thames Ambitious About Autism
Richmond upon Thames The Beckmead Trust
Cornwall Special Partnership Trust
Dorset Delta Education Trust
North Somerset Learn @ MAT
Plymouth Special Partnership Trust
Somerset Wave MAT
Wiltshire Reach South
Sandwell Victoria Academies Trust
Shropshire None
Solihull Forward Education Trust
Stoke-on-Trent Manor Hall Academy Trust
Warwickshire YMCA George Williams Academy
Worcestershire The Rivers CoE Academy Trust

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