Sheffield has received government approval to create a new special free school. This is in addition to another new special school, sponsored by Nexus Multi Academy Trust, which is already in development and due to open in 2020 on the site of the former Norfolk Park special school.
Each new school will have 80 places and add much-needed capacity to the Sheffield special school system. Both will cater for children who have complex communication and interaction needs (such as autism) as well as social, emotional and mental health needs. One will focus on children whose needs lead to outward, behavioural issues and the other will support those whose needs are more inward-facing, around anxiety.
Free schools are state-funded schools that are independent of local authority control. It is envisaged that neighbouring local authorities as well as Sheffield would commission places at the new schools.