South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.
Higher, Professional, Technical.
Outstanding by standing out

The SGS Pegasus School

SGS Academy Trust

A New Free School

Update on Progress of Application

Friday 5th February 2016

We are delighted to announce that we have received approval today for our application to form a new school in South Gloucestershire for children with autism can proceed to the pre-opening phase.

Kevin Hamblin, CEO of SGSAT said: “This news will allow the Trust, along with our partners including the Local Authority to take the first steps to design and plan for a new school and help dozens of children who currently are not supported in South Gloucestershire and for many that means having to travel out of the area to access appropriate provision. The school will focus on providing intensive support to about 80 children of all ages and will aim to support them into mainstream education when we feel they are confident enough. At the moment, the lack of suitable places in South Gloucestershire costs the local authority a considerable amount to buy provision in other areas - and more importantly children have to face long taxi or bus rides to access appropriate education services.”

The next step will be to find a site for the school and design the building before submitting a final proposal for Secretary of State’s approval. It is hoped that the school will be open in September 2017 at the earliest. 

Nick Timothy, Director of New Schools Network, said: “The application process to set up a free school is incredibly rigorous so it is a testament to the hard work of SGS Academy Trust that they have been approved to open.  

“This latest announcement means the total number of free schools open or approved to open has now exceeded 440 which marks an incredible milestone.  Free schools are proving increasingly popular with parents and are providing good new schools places for their local communities.”

We really appreciate the support, from parents and our partners we have received which has helped to make our application successful and will provide updates on this website.  Please contact Clare Wilson on clare.wilson@sgscol.ac.uk if you require further details.

What is the New Free School

The development of a new free school for children on the autism spectrum (AS) is being planned in South Gloucestershire and it is planned to open in September 2017. Free schools are new independent state funded schools. A Free School is a form of academy.

The SGS School, named after the main sponsor will be a Free School for young people with a Statement of Special Education Need (SEN) or an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) for autism. Parents whose children have Statements of SEN can request that the Free School is named on their child's Statement, but the final decision about which school to name rests with the Local Authority.

The project is sponsored by South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS College) and supported by the wider Concorde Partnership which consists of a group of secondary schools in South Gloucestershire (Bradley Stoke Community School, Abbeywood Community School and Patchway Community College). In addition, the project group are working in partnership with the local authority, existing South Gloucestershire special schools (Culverhill, Warmley Park, New Siblands, New Horizon's Learning Centre and SGEOTAS) and local resource bases(Abbeywood Academy 11-16, Hanham Woods Academy 11-16, Chipping Sodbury School 11-16, Blackhorse Primary 4-11 and Charborough Road Primary 4-11). SGS College was awarded development funding from the New Schools Network, a charity that supports the development of Free Schools across England.

The school will be for approximately 80 boys and girls from age 4 – 19 with autism. All children will have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health Care Plan which identifies needs relating to the autism spectrum.

The pupils who will attend the new school will have autism as their primary SEN. Any learning difficulties will be associated with their autism. Pupils who have severe learning difficulties as their primary need with autism as a secondary area will continue to be placed at New Siblands and Warmley Park free Schools. Pupils who have complex learning difficulties as their primary need with autism as a secondary needs will continue to attend Culverhill free School. Places will continue to be provided for pupils with speech, language and communication needs and autistic spectrum who can access a mainstream school curriculum at the area's resource bases. The local authority and all schools will work together to ensure a smooth and clear pathway is available for parents and children.

The actual site has not yet been agreed but it is expected to be in the Filton area of South Gloucestershire and the site will be agreed by the DfE.

Parents can express an interest in the school but at the moment they cannot request a place. If all goes to schedule then the new facility will open September 2017.

It is very helpful to have contact from parents that may be interested in this proposed school and so please contact Clare Wilson Head of Strategic Development, SGS College, clare.wilson@sgscol.ac.uk .