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Trust appointed to lead Fakenham specialist school proposal

A sponsor has been nominated to lead a planned new specialist school in Fakenham for children with special educational needs.

A decision is awaited from the government on plans to re-use the playing field at the town's old sixth form site for the development.

But Norfolk County Council has announced that the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Academies Trust (SENDAT) will run the school, which it is hoped will open in early 2022.

Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)
Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services, said: "SENDAT has a great track record for delivering high quality specialist education.

"I have every confidence that they share our ambition for the future of specialist education in Norfolk and will make a vital contribution to helping us achieve it.”

SENDAT chief executive Lawrence Chapman said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the sponsor for this new school in Fakenham.

"We are already running very successful schools and currently teaching over 400 students in Suffolk with a wide range of special needs including students with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and associated difficulties.

“We are excited at the prospect of being able to do so in Norfolk and very much looking forward to working with Norfolk County Council and engaging with the local community over the next few weeks and months to keep everyone informed of our plans to deliver an outstanding special school in Fakenham.”

The new school, which is subject to planning approval, is intended to provide a modern learning environment for up to 100 children and young people aged 5-16 with autism and associated complex communication and interaction needs.

A planning decision is expected shortly, while the county council has also applied to the Department of Education for permission to use the old playing field for the building.

Officials say that will be the best way of providing a modern, specialist building. A response is expected this summer.

Divisional county councillor Tom FitzPatrick said: “Fakenham is proud to be the host for this much needed and veryimportant new school and I know the community will be looking forward to getting to know SENDAT in the near future.”

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