Council seeks academy sponsor for new Harrogate special school
Last updated Jan 8, 2024
The former Woodfield Community Primary School in Bilton.

North Yorkshire Council has invited academy trusts to sponsor a planned new special school in Harrogate.

The authority agreed proposals to create the facility at the former Woodfield Community Primary School in Bilton in August 2023.

The school is expected to cater for up to 80 pupils aged between 11 and 19.

Council bosses said the school is needed to meet demand for special educational needs places locally.

Now, the authority has invited academy trusts to sponsor the school and operate it.

According to the invitation report, which has been published on the council website, the school would be opened on a phased basis from April 2025.

It adds that the authority has committed a £3.5 million budget to establishing the school.

This includes a two phased project to modify the buildings on the Woodfield site ahead of an April 2025 opening, plus a potential extension of its facilities afterwards.

Each pupil is expected to attract base funding of £10,000 each in line with the Department for Education’s high needs funding. Top up funding will also be given based upon the needs of the pupils.

The report said:

“The council’s current range of provision needs to be extended to cater more effectively for young people with a primary need of autism who require specialist support to maximise their potential.

“Those who require a more formal secondary curriculum and associated academic accreditation routes would benefit most from the proposed development.”

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A shortlist for those academy trusts who have applied is expected to be drawn up this month.

The move comes as a six-week consultation, which ended on July 24, 2023, saw 90 out of the 105 responses – a total of 86 per cent – support the proposed school.

Woodfield Community Primary School closed in December 2022 after an “inadequate” rating by Ofsted and a decline in pupil numbers.