Filton college wins approval to set up school for children with autism
Published on: 25 Feb 2016
A new school for children with conditions such as autism, to be run by Filton-based South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, has been approved.
Following a rigorous application and assessment process, the proposal for The SGS School, a new free special school, was approved this month by the Department for Education.
It is hoped it will open in September 2017.
The Secretary of State has given permission today for SGS Academy Trust to develop pre-opening plans to establish the new Free School for 80 boys and girls, aged 4-18 year olds with complex communication difficulties such as Autism.
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College formed the SGS Academy Trust in 2014 to support primary, secondary and special schools in the greater Gloucestershire area who feel that their school needs to benefit from efficiencies of scale gained by working with the College.
All schools in the Trust have access to the physical, human and intellectual support available from the college.
Kevin Hamblin, CEO of SGSAT said: “This news will allow the Trust, along with our partners including the Local Authority, to take the first steps to design and plan for a new school and help dozens of children who currently are not supported in South Gloucestershire and for many that means having to travel out of the area to access appropriate provision. The school will focus on providing intensive support to about 80 children of all ages and will aim to support them into mainstream education when we feel they are confident enough.
“At the moment, the lack of suitable places in South Gloucestershire costs the local authority a considerable amount to buy provision in other areas - and more importantly children have to face long taxi or bus rides to access appropriate education services.”
The next step will be to find a site for the school and design the building before submitting a final proposal for Secretary of State approval.
It is hoped that the school will be open in September 2017 at the earliest.
Nick Timothy, Director of New Schools Network, said: “The application process to set up a free school is incredibly rigorous so it is a testament to the hard work of SGS Academy Trust that they have been approved to open.
“This latest announcement means the total number of free schools open or approved to open has now exceeded 440 which marks an incredible milestone.
“Free schools are proving increasingly popular with parents and are providing good new schools places for their local communities.”