Where in England is getting new schools and special education boost?

The government has announced seven new special educational needs and disability schools are to be built, Political Correspondent Harry Horton has more

Thirty-two areas of England are set to trial long-awaited reforms for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the government has announced.

And ministers say seven new special free schools will soon be built, creating over a thousand places for children with SEND to receive "high-quality specialised learning".

The expansion of SEND provisions comes with 17% of pupils now being considered as having special educational needs, according to minister for children Claire Coutinho.

Areas being conducting pilots of SEND reforms have been selected to "deliver a ground-breaking new programme to test and refine the reforms to services for young people and families, the Department for Education said.

The trials will help inform the development of new national standards to improve the consistency of provision across the country.

Minister Coutinho said supporting children with special educational needs "is a priority", adding reforms are being introduced to to "make sure every child and young person gets consistently high-quality support, no matter where in the country they live".

She added: “Today we’re making sure that those reforms are informed by the experiences of real families, up and down the country, and creating the thousands of new places at specialist schools and in staff training courses that are needed to make sure our plan is a success.”But the National Autistic Society said the announcement is "not enough on its own to fix the woeful lack of school places and support for autistic children in all types of schools across England".

"Many autistic pupils are being failed by a lack of appropriate school places and the right support at school to meet their needs," it added.

Ms Coutinho admitted under the current system "families face a postcode lottery in whether they will get good quality support for their children".

The Department for Education said once its expansion of SEND schools is complete, there will be "almost double the number of special free school places available across the country".

It said the seven new schools will be built alongside 83 the government has already committed to building, boosting the number of SEND places available across the country from around 8,500 to 19,000.

The National Autistic Society said it is "calling on the government to launch an autism school places taskforce to ensure the right school places and support are available for autistic pupils."

It added: "We won’t accept a world where autistic children miss out on an education, and families are left exhausted and on the brink of crisis.” 

Where are the seven new special free schools being built?

  • Merton -120 place all-through in Morden

  • Norfolk - 170 place all-through in Great Yarmouth

  • Norfolk - 100 place all-through in Downham Market

  • Kent - 250 place all-through in Swanley

  • Kent - 120 place all-through in Whitstable

  • Cambridgeshire - 210 place all-through in Fenland

  • Cambridgeshire - 60 place secondary in Gamlingay

Which 32 areas have been selected for new SEND trials?

  • East Midlands: Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland

  • East of England: Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton 

  • London: Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Islington 

  • North East: Durham, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Stockton on Tees 

  • North West: Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Trafford 

  • South East: Brighton, East Sussex, Portsmouth, West Sussex 

  • South West: Gloucestershire, Swindon

  • West Midlands: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire  

  • Yorkshire and Humber: Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Wakefield 

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know