Two special schools in the South East have been told they can open, providing more than 120 new places for pupils with additional and complex needs.
The two new schools will be built in Essex and Hounslow, helping to meet the local need for school places for children with some of the most complex social, emotional and mental health needs.
It follows the publication of a package of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in December, when the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, announced an extra £350 million funding to provide them with specialist support and tailored facilities.
It included £100m to create more specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools. This could include more state-of-the-art facilities, such as sensory rooms and specialist equipment.
The two special free schools due to open in September 2020 include one in Hounslow, providing 64 specialist places for pupils.
The other is in Chelmsford, Essex, to offering 64 places to pupils aged seven to 16 who have severe and complex social, emotional and mental health needs.
Councils across the UK will also receive an additional £250 million in their high needs budgets over the next two years.
Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children Services and Youth Services, Hounslow Council, said: “We’re delighted to be given the opportunity to open a new special school in Hounslow. The number of children diagnosed with having special educational needs and disabilities has been rising in recent years.
“This new school will help meet the increased demand for school places and will support many children in our borough, ensuring that they receive the high quality education that they deserve.
Councillor Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We are delighted that the Beckmead Trust has been appointed by the Department for Education to open a new special school in Chelmsford and pleased to have been able to work in partnership with both organisations to make the site available.
“The new school will ensure pupils with a range of complex needs are fully supported within an appropriate environment and help to ensure that every child in the county is given the best chance to thrive. This is fantastic news for Essex and I look forward to the official opening of the new school.”