Central Bedfordshire Special Free School

Applications are open to run a new special school in Biggleswade

We're hosting 2 engagement events for potential sponsors to apply to run a new special school for 130 pupils from ages 5 to 19 with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. The school will be in Biggleswade.

Our free school bid to the Department for Education (DfE) has been informed by the most extensive listening event we have ever undertaken in Central Bedfordshire on special educational needs places, which has been endorsed by schools, both mainstream and special schools, plus SNAP Parent Carer Forum and Members of Parliament.

In March 2023, our application to build a new special school on Hitchmead Road in Biggleswade was approved by the Department for Education.

As the next stage of this process, a pre-application window is now open until June 16th for all prospective applicants to register their interest and an engagement event to ask us questions.

When are the events?

7 June: 2:30pm until 4pm, in the Central Bedfordshire Council Chamber at Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire, SG17 5TQ.

7 June: 4:30pm until 5:30pm, online via Microsoft Teams.

To register your interest in either session, please email cscapitaldelivery@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

What will happen at the engagement events?

Representatives of Create: Schools, on behalf of the DfE, will give a presentation to prospective applicants followed by a question-and-answer session, where our SEND officers will also be available to answer any questions.

Why is a new special school needed?

We have increasing numbers of children and young people requiring specialist provision. Our Specialist School Places Plan and SEND Strategy set out our ambitions over the next few years. We want best outcomes for our children and young people with SEND and this includes them being able to access good quality education in Central Bedfordshire. Having a new school for children and young people with special educational needs in relation to social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs will help achieve our ambitions for children and young people with SEND and their families.

Who can apply?

Academy trusts including single and multiple academy trusts.

What happens next?

Pre-registration is now open (until 5pm on 16 June) for groups wishing to apply to open the new special school. You must do this to be sent the application form.

Pre-register now

7 June 2023

The engagement events take place. To attend either in-person or online register by email at cscapitaldelivery@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.

31 August 2023 (midday)

The application window closes at midday for submissions of completed applications to the DfE via email to fs.applications@education.gov.uk.

Autumn 2023

Applications will be assessed and interviews will begin.

January 2024

The successful applicant will be announced and the school will enter its reopening phase.