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Plans for new special school take step forward

PUBLISHED: 09:13 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:04 18 December 2019

The Fakenham College site. Picture: Ian Burt

The Fakenham College site. Picture: Ian Burt

Plans for a new specialist school in Norfolk have moved forward

Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Children's Services John Fisher. Photo: Broadland District CouncilNorfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Children's Services John Fisher. Photo: Broadland District Council

Plans for a new specialist autism school have taken a step forward.

Norfolk County Council has launched a six-week consultation into the plans to build a school on the former Fakenham Sixth Form playing field, which has not been used in 20 years.

John Fisher, the council's cabinet member for children's services, said the school would cater for up to 100 children and young people with autism in north Norfolk.

Mr Fisher said: "We have pledged to transform special needs education in Norfolk and deliver hundreds of new specialist school places across the county.

Tom FitzPatrick. Picture: Supplied by Mr FitzPatrickTom FitzPatrick. Picture: Supplied by Mr FitzPatrick

"Too many children and young people in North Norfolk with autism are having to travel long distances to get the education they need and we want to change that."

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The land was returned to the county council after the college moved into new sixth form facilities on Field Lane in September, 2017.

The plans for the new school are part of a £120m plan to transform special needs education across the county.

Mr Fisher added: "We believe that using the redundant playing field to build a modern, specialist school would be the best option which is why we intend to ask the secretary of state to allow us to do so.

"We need people to give us their views on this proposition."

Tom FitzPatrick, county councillor for Fakenham, said: "This consultation is an important step towards creating a much needed new school in our town, something I have long supported to meet the needs of this area and I am pleased the process is now underway."

The plans for the new special school, along with proposals for the rest of the site, are now in development, and a search is underway for a sponsor to run the school.

The consultation will run until January 24 and people can have their say by visiting www.norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/re-use-of-education-playing-field-land-section-77

Printed copies of the consultation document can also be requested by emailing schoolreview@norfolk.gov.uk, and there will be a drop-in session where people can find out more at Fakenham Community Centre in Oak Street on Monday, January 6, 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-6pm.

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