Children, Families & Culture Cabinet Member – Minutes – 27 January 2020

The corresponding report of the following items (Minute 14 refers) contain exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 6b of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

14 RECOMMENDATION OF POTENTIAL ACADEMY TRUSTS TO ESTABLISH NEW POST-16 SPECIAL FREE SCHOOL – The Directors: Learning, Skills and Culture and Operations submitted a report asking the Cabinet Member to recommend to the Secretary of State the appointment of a sponsor trust for establishing a new post-16 special school.

The council had high ambition for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This ambition included ensuring provision of high quality education opportunities locally that prepared young people for achieving successful outcomes in adulthood. To enhance further local provision, the council had identified the opportunity to develop a bespoke post-16 learning offer that also met demand for a five-day offer for young people with more complex needs.

Following a successful bid to the Department for Education (DfE) for inclusion in the Wave 2 Free School round, the council sought applications for the establishment of a 60 place Special Free School to meet the requirements of pupils aged 16+ with complex needs.

Three applications were received and assessed against DfE guidance. All three applicants were interviewed by a panel comprising both DfE and council representatives. Following interviews, two prospective providers met the DfE benchmark.

The final ministerial decision for appointing a sponsor trust was in the context of the entire Wave 2 free schools programme. Subject to the Secretary of State approving the proposal to establish the new free school, construction would be procured by the DfE.

Resolved – That the Cabinet Member recommends the two potential providers, as set out in the report, to the Secretary of State for consideration as suitable sponsors for the new post-16 special school.