A JOINT bid to create a new school to provide high-quality, specialist education has been approved by the government.

Submitted by Barnsley and Sheffield councils, the school is a key part of Barnsley’s strategy to ensure that all children have access to high-quality education, closer to home to ensure that all children and young people are able to achieve positive educational outcomes and achieve their aspirations.

The council made the joint bid to the Department for Education’s (DfE) Special Free School programme to help to address the need for more special provision and its success will bring a 200-place school for primary and secondary school pupils with autism and communication and interaction needs. The places will be split equally between Barnsley and Sheffield pupils.

Coun Trevor Cave, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services at Barnsley Council, said: “Approval for this joint bid from the Department for Education is great news and a crucial step forward in helping build a brighter future for every Barnsley child by helping them reach their potential.

“We are ambitious for all our children and young people and the school will provide not only access to high-quality education but build confidence and independence so that children and young people can take full advantage of opportunities in the future and into adulthood. We have the plan to continue to increase a range of provision in Barnsley so that we can meet the needs of children and young people and ensure that they thrive in their education.”

Coun Dawn Dale, Chair of Education, Children and Families Policy Committee at Sheffield City Council, said: “It goes without saying that this is fantastic news, and will make a huge difference for children and young people with special educational needs. We’ve been lobbying the Government for some time to increase our places in South Yorkshire so this is a great result for Sheffield and Barnsley.

“We’re really excited about this, the school will help to provide much needed, high quality and local special educational need places for so many across our region. We are looking forward to delivering this school in partnership.”

The next stage will be to assign an academy, as is required by the process and will be led by the Department for Education alongside both Barnsley and Sheffield councils.