Joint Press Release - Northumberland County Council and Prosper Learning Trust
New special free school for Northumberland
A new special school for Northumberland has been announced - bringing 80 new places for children with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs.
The announcement of 35 new special free schools nationally was made yesterday (Sunday 19 July) by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, and one of these will be in Blyth.
Northumberland County Council was successful in its bid to establish a new special school and has run a formal competition for a trust to run the school.
Prosper Learning Trust has been the successful bidder and will manage the school, providing education for pupils aged 11 to 16, and scheduled to open in September 2022.
Cllr Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services and deputy leader of Northumberland County Council said: “This is fantastic news for Northumberland - and something we have been working towards for some time now.
“Our successful bid to Government allowed us to become part of this national programme, and as a consequence 80 children will benefit from a place at a school dedicated to their needs, making a huge difference to their lives and those of their families.
“There is a high demand for new special school places for young people with complex needs in Northumberland and as a council we are determined to address this.
“We look forward to working with the Prosper Learning Trust to bring this scheme to fruition.”
Mark Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Prosper Learning Trust, said: “This is an exciting time for Northumberland and everyone at Prosper Learning Trust is absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the approved sponsors for the Northumberland Special Free School.
“We aim to deliver a school that will serve the community of Northumberland and neighbouring local authorities. Working together with all our partners we will create a school that will be recognised as a centre of excellence, providing a curriculum that will meet the needs of all its pupils, a school that will make all those associated with it extremely proud "
The new school will be built by the Department for Education on the former Princess Louise First School site in Blyth. It is expected that it will take 40 children in 2022 and 80 by 2023.
The Government has encouraged local authorities to work together on this project and while this school will primarily meet the needs of children in Northumberland there will be a proportion of places for pupils from the neighbouring council areas.