New SEND school in south Wiltshire takes major step forward
Plans to ensure more school places are available for pupils with special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND) in south Wiltshire have taken a major step forward.
Last April it was announced there would be a new free school for 150 pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) in the south of the county. This will prevent the need for pupils to travel long distances to access the right educational setting to meet their needs.
Now it has been agreed by the Department for Education that Reach South Academy Trust, which already runs a special school in Wiltshire, will operate the new school in the south. Reach South runs Springfields Academy which is based across two sites in Calne and at Sarum Academy in Salisbury. The Salisbury site is known as Springfields South and opened in February 2019 for pupils with ASD and SEMH.
The new school, which will teach children aged 4-19, will have strong links with mainstream schools, nurseries and children's centres. Details on where the new school will be based are due to be shared shortly. The school will have strong links with the community and will help pupils to gain independence and access a breadth of learning.
Conservative Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: "This new school is going to make a huge difference to those families with SEND children in south Wiltshire. We are delighted that Reach South, with many years of experience, will be at the helm of an exciting new future."
Dean Ashton, CEO of Reach South Academy Trust said: "The school will build safe, independent lives for pupils through support, understanding and enablement
"We have high aspirations and expectations and we are excited to work in close partnership with Wiltshire Council and to support their work to deliver a system of excellence to ensure that all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Wiltshire have access to a first class education.
"We're committed to outreach and we want to support other schools and the local community, particularly parents and families. Our curriculum will be about breadth and challenge offering practical, multi-sensory, and real life experiences."
Springfields South already works closely with Magna Learning Partnership and Exeter House School in Salisbury, which supports pupils with complex needs.