Next step for proposed new specialist autism school

Next step for proposed new specialist autism school

Norfolk County Council’s bold £120m plan to transform special needs education in the county has taken another step forward, with the launch of a six-week consultation about the potential re-use of the former Fakenham VI Form playing field.

The consultation is part of a formal process for seeking Government approval for re-using the field, which records show hasn’t been used for approximately 20 years.

If granted, the approval would enable the council to move ahead with its plans to build a new specialist school for up to 100 children and young people with autism in north Norfolk, subject to planning and other approvals.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, John Fisher, said: “We have pledged to transform special needs education in Norfolk and deliver hundreds of new specialist school places across the county.

“Too many children and young people in North Norfolk with autism are having to travel long distances to get the education they need and we want to change that.

“We have a potential site at the former Fakenham VI form which would enable us to deliver this much-needed capacity. We believe that using the redundant playing field to build a modern, specialist school would be the best option which is why we intend to ask the Secretary of State to allow us to do so.

“We need people to give us their views on this proposition which we will forward to the Secretary of State so a decision can be made on the future of the field.”

Detailed plans for a new special school at Fakenham are being developed, along with proposals for the entire site. All plans are subject to consultation, engagement and approvals, including planning permission. In addition, a process to secure a sponsor to run the school is currently underway.

The consultation about the playing field will run from Friday 13 December 2019 to 24 January 2020 and people can have their say by visiting the Citizenspace website.

Printed copies of the consultation document can also be requested by emailing

A drop-in session has also been arranged where people can come along, ask questions and find out more about what is being proposed.

Date: Monday 6 January 2020
Venue: Fakenham Community Centre, Oak Street, Fakenham NR21 9DY
Time: 10am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 6pm

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