Sponsor sought for New Special Free School

Bradford Council is looking for a sponsor to join them on an exciting project to develop a new special school like no other in the district, helping to deliver transformational plans to its Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision.

The new Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) Free School will focus particularly on children and young people with complex SEMH needs and/or Autism, with associated challenging behaviour needs.

Catering for children and young people aged between ten and 19 years the school will provide outstanding educational provision in a highly specialist environment with accelerated progress and educational outcomes. Working in partnership with the local authority, the new school will also deliver outstanding educational outcomes for Looked After Children.

Bradford has a growing demand for additional specialist places and at present many children and young people with complex SEMH needs are educated out of the district due to the lack of available local provision. The new free school will not only benefit children and young people but also their families, enabling them to be educated nearer to their homes and local communities. 

Emma Hamer, SEND Planning and Project Manager for Bradford Council said:

"The Department for Education invited local authorities to identify where a new special free school would benefit their area. This opportunity was intended to identify and meet untapped demand for special free schools as a supplement to Bradford’s existing resources.

"Therefore we are delighted that the Regional Schools Commissioner has recognised our commitment to providing all our children and young people with the best facilities possible in local provision.  We have now opened a four month competition window for potential sponsors to submit their applications to run the new SEMH Free School”.

"The demand for specialist places is continually rising; detailed analysis and forecasting projections show a continued growth of demand and need for further specialist provision. The new school will be a valuable resource as we work hard to provide some of our most vulnerable children and young people with the best possible educational experience." 

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills added:

“This is wonderful news for the City. It will have a positive impact on the availability and choice of school places for children with social, emotional and mental health needs. This new free school will support young people throughout their education, including post-16, and aims to give them the best possible start as young adults, so it is critical we find the right sponsor.“

Bradford Council invites interested parties to their Sponsor Engagement Event which is to be held this Thursday, 12 July at 1pm in City Hall.

There will be a further event in September to share their vision on the new Social, Emotional Mental Health Free School and further details can be found by emailing: SEN-FreeSchool@bradford.gov.uk or visiting https://www.bradford.gov.uk/education-and-skills/special-free-schools/local-authority-commissioned-special-free-school/

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