Published: Tuesday, 13th August 2013

Oldham Council has successfully secured £6.25m in funding for a new special school for children across the Borough.

The Department for Education confirmed that Oldham’s application has been successful and the Local Authority is now issuing an invitation to interested parties to become funding sponsors.

The partner would run the new state-of-the-art facility, which will provide 140 spaces for children of all ages with autism spectrum disorder from around the Borough.

The new facility will provide specialised education provision for children with autism and associated communication disorders, who could be high achievers given the right support.

Expected to open in late 2015, the school will add to Oldham’s three existing special schools at Springbrook, Kingfisher and New Bridge – which are all rated ‘outstanding’ – and the four specialist units in operation at mainstream schools.

The preferred location for the new school is Rock Street in Oldham town centre, near other existing youth provision such as the Mahdlo youth zone.

Specialist design and resources will be installed on the site to deliver the best possible level of education, with the partner to be involved in some areas of the design.

In line with its Social Value Procurement Framework, Oldham Council is seeking a partner that not only delivers value for money, but will also bring social value to the whole area – such as community involvement, job opportunities for local people and working with voluntary groups.

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “Oldham has high aspirations for every child, so making sure we provide the best educational environment where they can grow, thrive and learn is essential.

“Securing this funding from the Government is fantastic news for local parents and families and it will significantly improve our local education offer.

“The right school is essential for a child’s achievements in life. In Oldham we pride ourselves on having the right educational provisions - none more so than in our special schools.

“As a Co-operative Borough, we share the best skills and expertise around our schools, so they’re constantly improving. This school will increase opportunities for children and young people from early years, into further and higher education and into employment.

“We’re looking forward to discussions with potential sponsors for this exciting project in the coming months.”

Interested partners can submit an outline of their vision for the school no later than August 22 by visiting: https://www.the-chest.org.uk/procontract/supplier.nsf/frm_home?ReadForm or via an email to chris.hill@oldham.gov.uk

Completed proposals should be submitted by Noon on Thursday, October 3.

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