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Unity Schools Partnership (USP) is delighted to launch its Section 10 consultation on its plan to establish a new Special School in Romford.

The Trust aims to create an outstanding school for pupils with Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs which may include an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

When it opens in September 2023 the school will take pupils in the 7 to 16 age range and will have capacity for 60 pupils.

Click here to take part in our online consultation

As part of the process of opening a new school, USP is legally required to hold a consultation exercise (under Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010) to determine whether the Trust should enter into a Funding Agreement with the Department for Education.

This consultation will allow parents/carers and pupils, staff and governors from local schools, other Local Authorities, Councillors, local residents and any other interested parties to learn more about the new special school and USP and share their views.

This is an important step in our journey towards opening in September 2023 and we are looking forward to listening to your views in order to provide you with the best school possible.

The consultation period will run from Monday 31st October 2022 to Friday 9th December 2022.

How can I take part in the consultation?

  • Attend the public meeting being held at St Edwards Academy, London Road, Romford, RM7 9 NX on Wednesday 16th November 2022 at 6pm.
  • Complete our online questionnaire.
  • Download the questionnaire and return it to: Romford Special School, Section 10 Consultation, Unity Schools Partnership, Park Road, Haverhill, Suffolk, CB9 7YD or return by email to projects@unitysp.co.uk.

Further information

The new special school in Romford will be a 60-place school for boys and girls aged 7 to 16 years with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs which may include an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

The need for the new school was identified by the London Borough of Havering in its High Needs Strategy 2017-2022.

The capital cost of the new school is being paid for by central government. The school will be run by Unity Schools Partnership (USP) and will be based on a mainstream model of education with an SEMH/ASD specialism.

The SEMH description applies to children who are unable to access education because of their extreme reactions to everyday situations which can result in inappropriate behaviour or an inability to participate in the usual range of education activities that would be offered in a mainstream school.

These children may have the cognitive ability to access an age-related curriculum but may need support to do so. This may include specific therapeutic support.

Although the main specialism of the school will be SEMH, some children may also be diagnosed with autism alongside their primary need. These children may exhibit or experience similar dysregulated behaviour and/or response to social situations.

Careful consideration will be given to the class groupings and educational needs of these children; they will have their needs met by a well-trained staff group and by policies and practices that have understanding of the needs of autistic children at their heart.

The overarching vision for the school is to prepare students to become successful independent adults who make a positive contribution to their community, who are valuable members of a better society and who can look back on their educational experience with enjoyment and pride.

The Trust believes that an ambitious, well-planned curriculum is essential for not only achieving successful academic outcomes but also in effectively meeting the SEMH/ASD needs of their learners.

The National Curriculum will be followed because the Trust’s aspirations are that pupils will achieve educational standards commensurate with mainstream settings.

The school will forge strong referral and working links with a range of agencies such as mental health services and educational psychology to ensure a holistic approach is taken to meeting each child’s needs.

Planning permission has been granted and the new school is being built on land adjacent to St Edwards Academy, London Road, Romford, Essex, RM7 9NX.

For a child to be admitted, the school must be named, by a local authority, in the child’s education, health and care plan (‘EHCP’).

The new school will open and be part of the Unity Schools Partnership (USP), which is based in the East of England.

There are currently 32 schools in the USP, including four special schools and six enhanced resource units.

USP schools share the same values, face similar issues and are geographically close enough to support and challenge each other.

We recognise, however, the unique characteristics of each of the communities we work in and how they are reflected in distinctive school cultures.

We encourage cultural diversity, celebrate the special qualities of each of our schools and recognise that sustainable communities constantly change and grow.

We do not look for corporate solutions but are a partnership that respectssustains and supports.

Our model is about creating interdependence; schools that are more self-sustaining than stand-alone academies, and more independent than schools in corporate chains. We welcome close working partnership with the local authorities we serve.

Our schools subscribe to a set of shared values, principles and operational processes that ensure quality education for all our young people.

Our central belief is that every young life is special; open to possibility, gifted with the potential to change the world for the better but also sometimes bound by the limits of their own circumstances.

Our ambition is to unlock the potential of all children, remove the barriers to aspiration and ensure that all our children succeed.

USP was the Trust behind the opening of Churchill Special Free School in Haverhill in 2013. One of the first special free schools, Churchill was awarded an Outstanding judgement by Ofsted after its first inspection in 2015 and again in 2019.  “The school is a very calm, caring place, where pupils feel comfortable and able to deal with any difficulties and previous negative experiences of education”. Jackie Mullan Ofsted Inspector July 2019

Since then, the Trust has opened The Sir Bobby Robson School in Ipswich, and the Sir Peter Hall School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, both of which specialise in meeting the needs of pupils with SEMH and ASD needs.

The Trust’s expertise in educating pupils with Speech, Language and Communication Needs and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorder means it is well placed to run the new school in Romford.