Solihull Council has been given the green light by the Department for Education to establish a special free school to support children with autism.
The new school, which is likely to be open in two years, will have up to 100 places for children and young people with autism aged between 7 and 16 years old. The Council’s preferred option is for a dual site school with locations in both the north and south of Solihull.
It will provide an outstanding education for pupils attending the school together with support for children with autism at mainstream schools through an assessment centre based at the new site.
Cllr Ken Meeson, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: “This is fantastic news for children and families across Solihull. We know we have comparatively high rates of autism diagnosis in the borough. This funding means we can take an important step in delivering the Council’s ambitious programme to provide an exceptional educational environment which fully understands and caters for the individual needs of children and young people with autism.
He continues: “For those pupils with more complex needs, creating a special free school will mean we can better meet current and future demand for places, whilst also extending local choice.
“On a practical level it also means we can educate more children and young people nearer to their homes. Spending less time being transported to and from school means they should receive a better learning experience.”
In line with Department for Education guidance, the Council can now start advertising the opportunity for potential trusts to apply to establish the new school. The specification will be published on the Council website.