A new special free school for 16 to 19 year olds will be created in Herefordshire

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The Department for Education, in partnership with Herefordshire Council, has announced today (Thursday 29 March) that Barrs Court Academy Trust has been selected to run the county’s new special school.

Herefordshire Council is one of only 14 councils across the country to be successful in its bid to create a new special free school, which will provide places for 50 young people aged 16 to 19 years old with severe and complex learning disabilities, including autism.  

The school is scheduled to open in 2020 and is likely to be located close to Hereford Sixth Form College, Hereford College of Arts and Herefordshire and Ludlow College, which will enable students to benefit from a range of different facilities and contact with other Post 16 students.

The school will create a new centre of excellence for young people with special educational needs (SEN) and will:

  • Provide high quality teaching and learning
  • Offer high quality information, advice and guidance
  • Provide a community facility outside of school hours
  • Enable internships and work experience
  • Support students in other educational facilities, including mainstream schools, colleges and training providers
  • Provide a resource hub for staff working with SEN children and their families

Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst, Cabinet member for young people and children’s wellbeing, said:

“We’re delighted with today’s announcement from the Department for Education, which is clear recognition of the council’s bid for a new SEN facility within the county.  It’s fantastic news for children and families and will also bring much needed investment into Herefordshire, which otherwise would not have been available.

“I’m pleased that Barrs Court Academy Trust has been selected, it has a proven and successful record for providing high quality education and support to children with severe and complex learning disabilities, which it will soon be able to offer to our 16 to 19 year olds.

“Young people with special educational needs and disabilities often face a range of challenges leaving school and moving into adulthood.  Barrs Court Academy Trust will be able to build on the county’s existing high quality Post 16 opportunities and develop a broad range of special education provision to meet the needs of young people with SEN, so regardless of their individual needs, they will all have the opportunity to make good progress and fulfil their potential.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the Department for Education and Barrs Court Academy Trust to ensure the school provided meets the needs of the county’s young people with severe and complex learning disabilities.”

Lisa Appleton, Headteacher at Barrs Court Academy Trust, said:

“Barrs Court Academy Trust is excited to be given the opportunity to lead on further developing and enriching the current high quality Post 16 SEN provision across Herefordshire.  The college will make a significant contribution that will lead to even better outcomes for students in independent living, employability, healthy lives and active participation in the community and society in which they live.  With full collaboration from parents, it will also enable and empower the young adults and their families to ensure successful transition into a meaningful adulthood.

“We look forward to working closely with Herefordshire Council and the Department for Education to ensure that the provision will meet the high standards required to guarantee that the final decision to open the college is made by the Secretary of State, through formally entering into a funding agreement with the trust.”

Published: 29th March 2018