New North Yorkshire school will bring 'significant benefits' for students with special educational needs and disabilities

A multi-million pound investment in special education needs in North Yorkshire is set to see a new school built to help cope with a dramatic rise in demand and prevent pupils having to travel outside of the county for classes.

The school is to be located in Osgodby, just outside Selby.
The school is to be located in Osgodby, just outside Selby.

The proposed development near Selby represents a watershed for special education needs and disabilities (SEND) as the district has a glaring lack of provision.

There are currently no special schools in the Selby district, meaning families with children in need of special education often face a lengthy journey to access facilities.

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North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for education and schools, Coun Patrick Mulligan, said: “Having a special school in the Selby area will bring significant benefits for children and young people with education, health and care plans.

“It will enable them to go to school in their community and with their friends, which will also support their social and emotional well-being.

“It will reduce travelling time and, therefore, the time children spend away from their home and community. There will also be greater opportunity to have health needs met locally, to be part of community events and developments and to prepare for adulthood in their own area.

“The school signifies a huge investment in SEND and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create bespoke, high quality special education provision for young people in their local area, which should meet their needs for many years to come.”

The proposed new school is a key part of the county council’s strategic plan for SEND provision in North Yorkshire, and the purpose-built facility will be designed to support the needs of children with a range of disabilities and special needs.

The school is set to cater for up to 100 pupils, potentially aged three to 19, on land owned by the council next to Hull Road in Osgodby, just outside Selby.

With rising demand for special education, there is a pressing demand for a new school in the Selby district.

There are currently 3,574 children in North Yorkshire with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, which is a 102 per cent increase since 2015. The number is due to rise by a further 24 per cent over the next five years, from 3,574 presently, to 4,225 children and young people in 2026.

The greatest areas of demand are in pupils with communication and interaction needs and children with social, emotional and mental health needs.

In July, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced an academy sponsor, the Wellspring Multi-Academy Trust, had been approved to run the new school, although the exact cost and timescale for when the new facility could open have yet to be finalised.

The trust’s chief executive, Mark Wilson, said: “Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities deserve the very best support to enable them to meet their potential. The investment in this new school will provide exactly that.”

The Yorkshire Post reported last month that the council had invested £700,000 to improve facilities at Mowbray School in Ripon, a satellite site to Mowbray School in Bedale. That funding was also aimed at ensuring children with SEND needs could be educated closer to their homes.