Kirklees Council is increasing the number of school places for children with special educational needs – and has secured Government permission to open a new 100-place school.

The council, in partnership with Delta Academies Trust, will open the Alternative Provision Free School for children aged eight to 16.

‘Alternative Provision’ often refers to education for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties who are unable to attend a mainstream or special school and are not educated at home.

It is not yet known where the school will be based but the council says it’s likely to be in a “suitable existing building.”

The news comes as the council’s Cabinet is expected to agree to increase the number of places at Woodley School and College in Lowerhouses, which caters for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The school, which provides places for young people with complex autism, will expand over time to 194 places.

The longer-term plan is for Woodley to move to a new, purpose-built school on the site of the former Almondbury Community School.

Meanwhile, another special school – Joseph Norton Academy at Scissett – will also move to a new purpose-built school on the site of the demolished former Deighton Centre in Deighton.

Woodley School

Speaking about the new Alternative Provision Free School, Clr Viv Kendrick, the council’s Cabinet member for children, said: “It’s fantastic news that a new school will be opening in Kirklees so that pupils who need extra help and support can continue to thrive.

“Many pupils with additional needs make more sustained progress when they can access a specialist setting, and creating additional provision is vital to families, as well as pupils themselves.

“We are pleased to work alongside Delta Academies Trust, who will run the school when it opens. This is a great opportunity to, once again, be highly ambitious for vulnerable learners in Kirklees.

“Offering the best support to children and families is incredibly important to us. We are transforming these services and the new school is another huge boost for local education.”

Jo Pittard, executive principal of Delta Academies Trust, said: “Our vision is for students to feel safe, valued and part of a community, so that they develop a sense of self-belief, aspiration and pride in their ability and achievements.

“We look forward to working closely with young people, parents, staff and wider stakeholders to realise this vision.” 

On increasing places at Woodley school, Clr Kendrick added: “It will enhance support for local children, both now and in the future and is just one way that the council is developing SEND provision throughout Kirklees.

“The number of places would increase gradually, leading up to the school moving to its new and better facility.”

The new Woodley school is not likely to be ready until 2026 at the earliest.