Essex to invest record £85m in new special school places

Essex County Council has announced plans to invest £85 million in creating more than 400 new special school places across the county.

The record investment includes £42million from the Essex Schools Forum, as well as £43million of capital funding from Essex County Council, and follows an increase in the number of young people in the county being diagnosed with autism and a growing need for special school places.

Exact proposals have not yet been finalised, but are likely to include:

- A new 70-place school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs in the Chelmsford area

- 80 additional places for pupils with severe needs in the Colchester area

- 24 new places in the Braintree district for pupils with severe physical and neurological needs

- 24 new places for pupils with autism or social emotional and mental health needs in the Epping Forest district

- 20 new boarding places for pupils with severe needs in the Castle Point/Rochford area

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s cabinet member for education and lifelong learning, said: “We already have some excellent special schools in Essex, with every single one in the county currently rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.

“However, more capacity is still needed if we are going to reduce the distance young people are having to travel to school and meet the needs of the rising number of children being diagnosed with autism in Essex.”

Read more