A brand new school specialised for children with autism is set to open its doors in 2023 after SEND services found that there were "insufficient specialist places" for children with "more complex needs".

Connaught School will be opened by Learning in Harmony Trust, an organisation that had said it is delighted to have received confirmation from The Department of Education to open the Newham school. 

The school, which is named after the local landmark bridge, will serve up to 105 pupils aged five to 19, and will be a designated school to support children with autism.


A spokesperson for Connaught School said: "Newham Council has a proud history of inclusive education where children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities make very good progress during their time at school.

"However, as identified in the inspection of SEND services in Newham in December 2021, there are insufficient specialist places for children and young people with more complex needs, particularly for those with autism.

"The Local Authority forecasts show that the demand for places is increasing and there are already more than 100 children and young people with autism having to be educated out of the borough.

"The Connaught School will help to address the need for additional places, alongside the expansion of JFK special school agreed by Newham Council’s Cabinet in November 2022."

Learning in Harmony Trust’s newest school will officially open in September 2023, operating from a temporary site at Upton Park Cross Primary School on Kirton Road.

This will be until it moves to its permanent residence on Royal Road from September 2024.

The plans are for an initial 40 pupil intake in 2023, which will then expand once the permanent school site opens.

By opening the temporary site, Connaught School will be able to start supporting young people from across the community in accessing exceptional SEND provision. 

According to the Trust, being part of this network will enable Connaught School to access expertise and bespoke support, as well as share best practices for implementing high-quality SEND provision. 

Gary Wilkie, CEO of Learning in Harmony Trust, said: “We are pleased to be able to officially announce the addition of Connaught School to our Trust family.

"With the opening of this school, we are able to continue making a real difference to children with autism in the Newham Community by providing them with the skills and knowledge to flourish."

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