Special Free School

Special Free School for Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Needs

Cornwall Council’s bid to establish a new special school for children with special educational needs (SEN) has been successful. As part of a national initiative with the Department for Education (DfE) this will increase the range of education provision in Cornwall.

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The special free school will provide 65 places for children, aged from 5 to 16,  who have Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Our new special school will make a significant contribution to Cornwall’s Local Offer for children and young people with a high level of SEMH needs.

We are now inviting potential partners to apply to deliver the Special Free School for SEMH.

Cornwall Council Special Free School Specification

Download the Cornwall Council Special Free School Specification

Download the Proposed Location Map

This document sets out key information about the school that Cornwall Council will be establishing alongside the Department for Education.  Interested parties should use the information within this document, alongside the engagement event, to determine whether they would like to apply to open the school. Applications must relate to this specification.

Engagement Event

All interested parties are invited to a stakeholder engagement event on Wednesday 01 May 2019 at the Royal Cornwall County Showground, Wadebridge, PL27 7JE.

During the event further information on the proposed school and the application process will be shared. We will set out our expectations of close partnership working with the successful proposer and, of course, there will also be the opportunity to discuss any questions. Representatives of Cornwall Council and the Department for Education will be attendance at the event.

Engagement Event Details

  • When: Wednesday 1 May 2019
  • Where: Royal Cornwall County Showground, Wadebridge, PL27 7JE
  • Timings: TBC

Please email children@cornwall.gov.uk to book your place at the event.

Application Details

The deadline for applications is midday Monday 30 September 2019.

The How to Apply Guide and application form can be found on the Department for Education’s Website.

The ‘how to apply’ guidance explains the criteria that all applications will be assessed against.

The Department for Education will invite proposer groups with the strongest applications to interview.

Final approval of successful trusts lies with the Secretary State.

The New Schools Network (NSN)

Contact the New Schools Network if you need more advice on how to set up a free school.

The New Schools Network (NSN) receives a grant from the Department for Education to provide free advice, guidance and resources to those applying to open free schools. In the first wave of SEN free schools, NSN supported 11 out of 14 successful groups via their Development Programme. NSN is reaching out to encourage and support strong education providers to submit applications.

NSN offers advice and guidance about the process. Applicants can register for a 1-1 meeting with an Adviser or get in touch with their team by emailing info@newschoolsnetwork.org. They also offer a bespoke package of support called the Development Programme. To enrol on the Development Programme groups must apply via their website. Potential applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the NSN about the support on offer.

For More Information

Please contact Julie LeMasurier, Head of SEN, or Sharon Hindley, Head of School Access and Sufficiency, for more information.

More information on opening a free school is available on the Department for Education Website.