By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter
An operator and an opening date for a new free school at the site of the former Woodside School in Bexley have been confirmed.
Bexley council on Monday revealed the Trinitas Academy Trust would take over the running of an SEN school in Halt Robin Road, which it is hoped will open in September, under the name Cornerstone.
The authority predicts that when completed and fully occupied, it will educate 90 students with social, emotional and mental health needs aged 11 to 19.
The announcement comes a month after the authority handed over Bexley’s first SEN free school, Cleeve Meadow, to the Kemnal Academy Trust.
The two new schools mean that 210 pupils with special educational needs will be educated within Bexley.
The increased provision comes a year after the local government ombudsman upheld half a dozen complaints against the council over its transport policy for special educational needs students needing to be taken to school.
Cabinet member for education, Councillor John Fuller, praised the new schools.
He said: “We look forward to working with the Trinitas Trust to deliver this much-needed new school, which will enable more of our pupils to be educated in their local communities.
“Along with the new Cleeve Meadow School, the plans for Cornerstone show our commitment to families in Bexley. I look forward to work starting at the site.”
Trinitas Academy Trust chief executive Beverley Gardener said the move would be a big boost to SEN in the borough.
She said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the trust to further meet the needs of Bexley children.
“For too long, these children’s needs could not be met locally, meaning that children had to travel quite a distance just to go to school.
“They will now be able to go to school where they live, and enjoy the benefits of both belonging to their new school and to Trinitas.”
Pictured top: Bexley civic centre
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