Proposal for new special school in Huntingdonshire is unveiled

The proposal was unveiled by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The proposal was unveiled by Cambridgeshire County Council. - Credit: Archant

A new multi-million pound special school for up to 110 pupils is set to be opened on the outskirts of Huntingdon.

The school will be built at Alconbury Weald and will cater for children aged from three to 19, with an opening date pencilled in for September 2020 if a sponsor can be found.

The proposal for the new school has been put forward by Cambridgeshire County Council following an increase in demand for places and a lack of existing capacity in the area.

A report compiled by the county council said: “With the significant demographic growth experienced across Cambridgeshire and major housing development proposals, there is insufficient capacity to meet the additional demand which is forecast.

“Although Alconbury Weald will not generate demand for a special school in its own right, it is likely that between a quarter and a third of the pupils attending the school will be residents of the new development.”

The council will invest £15 million to design and construct the school which, it is hoped, will serve as a focal point for the new community. The secondary school will be run by the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust, which also runs the Ermine Street Academy, in Alconbury Weald.

Councillor Simon Bywater, chairman of the children and young people committee, said: “Alconbury Weald is centrally located within Cambridgeshire and, with the upgrade of the A14, it seems to make sense and it is also near to Peterborough which helps with the shared services.”

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The school will teach those with the most severe or complex learning difficulties, along with those that have additional needs including medical, physical or emotional, and pupils that require modification to the curriculum and personalised learning approaches.

It was expected that the Huntingdon-based Spring Common Academy Trust (SCAT) would run the school as discussions had been taking place between the council and SCAT earlier this year, but the authority is now asking other parities to put forward an application.

Cambridgeshire County Council plans to build three new special schools by 2022 and a further two schools by 2025.