Special free school competition

We have compiled a comprehensive Special Education Need (SEN) Sufficiency Statement (PDF, 1.88MB) that provides detailed needs analysis, mapping of pupils travel journeys and proposals to increase SEN school places.

This Special free school competition, launched in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE), is an exciting opportunity for proposer groups to work with us to increase the number of good quality, local SEN school places.

The establishment of a new Special free school for 40 pupils in Cheshire East aged between 4 and 16 with social, emotional and mental health needs via this competition is an integral element of our plans to improve SEN capacity.

By working together with the winning proposer we will reduce the need for our children with complex needs to travel long distances, often to out of borough independent and non-maintained Special Schools.

This competition is open nationally, so is also advertised on the DfE website.

Special Free School market engagement 19 Sep 2017

Information update prior to submission

Not long to go until the Special Free School competition closes on the 24 November 2017.

As potential bidders finalise their submissions Cheshire East would like to reiterate that submissions should detail what a full curriculum would look like for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health and how bidders will be innovative as pupil numbers grow. The Council would also envisage that bids will explain any appropriate grouping of pupils across national curriculum year groups.

Cheshire East would also like to confirm that the pupil numbers and year groups in the specification are forecasts at the point of advertising the opportunity to run our Special Free School.

How to enter

All potential proposer groups must complete a  pre-registration form from the DfE website.

Financial guidance is available from the DfE :

After you have registered your interest, you must complete our application forms.

Please make sure that you read the Cheshire East Special free school specification document (MS Word, 114KB) and  Special free school application guidance (MS Word, 172KB).

Closing date for entries

Completed  applications can be submitted any time, but must be received by midday on 24 November 2017.  Your pre-registration form and application forms should be sent to us by both email to Children's Commissioning  and hard copy to:

Children’s Commissioning
Cheshire East Council
1 st Floor Westfields
Middlewich Road
CW11 1HZ