Council welcomes proposal to create new 56 place free school for pupils living with Autism Spectrum Condition

Sutton Council has welcomed a Department of Education (DfE) proposal to create a new, 56-place free school in the borough for pupils living with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC).

However, last night (1 July) the Council’s People Committee confirmed their support for Sutton’s excellent local schools which have urged government ministers to reconsider plans for an additional free school for mainstream secondary pupils – because there is already sufficient capacity for students across the borough.

Sutton Council has no direct influence on decisions around free schools, all decisions are taken by education ministers.

People Committee Chair, Councillor Marian James said:

“It is important to remember that the decision on free schools lies exclusively with the Department of Education and not with Sutton Council. However, the Council has been working closely with schools across the borough and feel it is important to share our views with ministers so they can make the best decisions possible.

“We very much support the plan to increase capacity in the borough for children with special educational needs. This is vital and welcome.

“However, we feel that plans for an extra mainstream free school in the borough are unnecessary for the simple reason that while the demand for special needs education is rising, the need for mainstream secondary education places is falling and will drop off from 2027. Our excellent schools in Sutton can cope with the current demand until that time.”

Sutton Council has offered to make additional places available over the next 5-6 years, as an alternative to the Department for Education (DfE) proposed new mainstream free school known as ‘Sutton Free School 1’. 

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