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Plans for special needs school to come to Downham Market get given the green light by Norfolk County Council

Plans for a special needs school to come to Downham have just been given the green light from Norfolk County Council.

The school will be ready to open in September 2026 and will offer 100 places for children aged between five and 18 with communication and interaction needs.

Work will now proceed for land acquisition and planning permission and a process will be opened for multi-academy trusts to bid to run the school.

A new school is planned to come to Downham by 2026. Picture: iStock
A new school is planned to come to Downham by 2026. Picture: iStock

The school comes as part of a submitted proposal by Norfolk County Council to the Department of Education (DfE) as part of its £100 million six-year Local First Inclusion special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) improvement programme.

Cllr Penny Carpenter, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We are really delighted the Government has agreed to our proposals for these two much-needed new special schools.

“Creating more specialist provision for children and young people with higher needs SEND is vital to making sure this group have the best support to flourish in their education and adult life.

“Our ambitious Local First Inclusion programme aims to make sure all children and young people have the right school place to suit their needs as close to their homes as possible.”

The council’s bid for the schools was made as part of its £100m Local First Inclusion programme which pledges to deliver hundreds of new specialist education places at special schools, specialist resource bases and alternative provision bases.

It also aims to provide significantly more advice, support and funding for mainstream schools to support inclusion with 15 new school and community support teams introduced to give early help and support to both parents and schools.

Norfolk County Council’s plans also come with a 170-place complex school in Great Yarmouth, making it that five special schools will have been delivered across the county in the past five years.

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