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(UK) Sheppey Island: New special school to open in '23; 'there is a growing need'

Sept 14, 2021, Kent Online: Special free school at former Danley Middle School site on Sheppey to now open in September 2023 https://www.kentonline.co.uk/sheerness/news/delay-to-island-s-only-special-free-school-253940/ SE England

Pupils are expected to walk through the doors of Sheppey’s new and only special free school in September 2023 – a year later than originally planned. The secondary school will be built on the former Danley Middle School site in Halfway Road, Halfway, and cater for 120 young people. Run by The SABDEN Multi-Academy Trust, it will be open to those who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties including those with autism and communications difficulties…. Shellina Prendergast, Kent County Council’s (KCC) cabinet member for education and skills, said: “The new secondary free special school, being provided through the Department for Education, is much needed and we are very pleased that work on it is progressing. “As a result of a number of changes to the project and the difficulties that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused, the anticipated date of opening for the school is September 2023…. While Sittingbourne has two special educational needs (SEN) schools; Meadowfield School and Aspire School, the need for a special free school on the Island was identified by KCC in previous versions of its rolling Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent…. Cllr Cameron Beart (Con), who represents Queenborough and Halfway on Swale council, has supported calls for more suitable, local SEN provision to meet growing needs on the Island and reduce the demand for out-of-area school transport. He said: “There is a growing need for SEN provision in Swale, particularly for secondary education. This new school will go some way to providing for that need within our community…. He added: “I was so pleased to see that long-fought campaign come to fruition, so when I was made aware of this proposal by KCC in 2018, I immediately wrote to Damian Hinds MP expressing my support.”