A Bury MP has welcomed plans for a new school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the borough amid a government-backed programme to increase places.

Bury North MP James Daly said he is “delighted” the borough will be one of 16 local authorities in England to get a new SEND school as part of the government's plan to deliver 60,000 more places for pupils with additional needs. 

The Department for Education (DfE) confirmed earlier this month that Bury had been successful in its bid for a new SEND school as part of the latest wave of the government's special free schools programme

The school, planned for Radcliffe, has 80 proposed places for children aged four to 11, with a potential specialisation in autistic spectrum disorder, speech, language, and communication needs.

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Earlier this year, the council also confirmed plans for another special school in Redvales with space for 60 pupils. 

Mr Daly said: “I’m delighted that Bury has been chosen by the government as one of a handful of places which are to benefit from a new school to help support children with special educational needs.

“Our new school here will provide specialist spaces for pupils whose needs cannot be met in mainstream education and follows an investment of £105m confirmed by the Chancellor at this year’s spring budget.

“It’s vital that all children have the opportunities to benefit from a good education and I know that special schools can help to transform children’s lives, enabling pupils with special education needs to thrive in environments that meet their needs.”

The plans arrive a week after the council came under fire from the education watchdog, Ofsted, which identified "serious failures" in the quality of its services for children with SEND. 

The government says it has invested £150m in its plan to deliver the largest ever expansion in the number of special school places.

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A competition for academy trusts to run the schools will be launched in the coming days. Bury currently has two special educational needs and disability (SEND) schools, Elms Bank in Whitefield and Millwood Primary School in Radcliffe.

Meanwhile, a long-awaited new mainstream high school, Star Academy Radcliffe, will open its doors in September with space for 750 places for pupils aged seven to 11.

The two new schools will be free schools, meaning that they will be funded by the government but run by a multi-academy trust, rather than the local authority.