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(UK) Newcastle: Plans made for autism school; 320 to 380 additional places needed

Feb 7, 2024, Chronicle Live: Plan unveiled for new special school in Newcastle to cope with rising number of children with autism

NE England

Newcastle City Council bosses want to build a new school in Byker for children with autism, though there is no funding in place for the development yet.

City education chiefs are hoping to build a new school in Byker that could support almost 200 children and young people aged four to 16. There have been a series of warnings over recent years about the pressing need for a new special school in Newcastle, as the number of youngsters diagnosed with autism has risen substantially....

... However, no funding for the development has yet been secured from the Government and the financial cost of the project is unknown.

A council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the majority of the costs of building a new special school would have to come from the Department for Education (DfE). But it emerged in May 2023 that the council had failed in a funding bid to the DfE….

Coun Kemp said: “There has been an increasing demand for services that specialise in supporting young people with autism. The creation of this new facility will help address this and ensure more children and young people receive the support they need in an environment where they can thrive. These proposals demonstrate our continued commitment to improving services and supporting our children and young people into a successful future.”

Previous council forecasts have suggested that an extra 320 to 380 schools places for children with autism would need to be created to cope with rising demand. Plans were announced last year for an expansion of Thomas Bewick School in West Denton, which provides specialist provision for children and young people with autism from ages three to 19, to boost its capacity by up to 56 pupils.


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