New special needs school announced for Twickenham

Release Date: 12 April 2017

A new Special Educational Needs school in Twickenham will open, it has been announced today in the latest round of Free School applications.

The Maaz will be a 72-place special school for children aged four to 19. It will be for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan or Statement of Special Educational Needs, as a result of speech, language and communication or social, emotional and mental health issues, including autism.

When full, the school will have 28 pupils at the primary level, 35 at the secondary level and nine pupils aged 16 to 19. The school has been proposed and will be run by the Auriga Academy Trust, formed by the borough’s two existing, excellent special schools, Clarendon and Strathmore.

It is expected that, subject to the Council’s formal approval process, the school will open on two Council-owned sites in Twickenham.

Unfortunately, the application for Franklin House in Teddington, a new primary school proposed by the Stamp Education Trust, was unsuccessful, as was their application for a primary in Surbiton. The Department for Education however praised their application, saying that the school’s vision, proposed curriculum and the skills and expertise of the team was a considerable strength. It is anticipated that the Trust will review the feedback and consider reapplying in the next round of applications, expected to be this summer.

Cllr Paul Hodgins, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Schools, said:

“This is fantastic news! This new school is desperately needed and will provide much-needed places for local children and young people with special needs to meet forecast need.

“We have worked very closely with the Auriga Academy Trust to develop their proposals.

“Only one in four applications across Richmond and Kingston got through and only 16 in the whole of London. This will be our third special school in the borough and I’m particularly pleased that more children with special educational needs will be able to be educated within their community rather than having to travel to schools well outside the borough.

“I am though, disappointed that the applications from the Stamp Education Trust were not approved. We are already anticipating that in the next round they will be resubmitted, together with a new application for a secondary school in Mortlake.”

Harry James, Chair of the Auriga Academy Trust, said:

"This is great news for young people with special needs and their families. It means they will benefit from outstanding education and be close to home. I am very excited at the prospect of the new school and I would like to thank everyone involved in the application for their hard work and dedication."

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P172/17

Updated: 28 April 2017