Prosper Learning Trust to Open New Special Free School in Jarrow

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28th Mar 2024

A new special school for South Tyneside has been announced - bringing 56 new places for children with social, emotional and mental health needs.

South Tyneside Council was successful in its bid to establish a new special school and alongside the DfE, has run a formal competition for a trust to run the school.

Prosper Learning Trust has been the successful bidder and will manage the school.  Prosper Learning Trust are an established multi academy trust, who specialise in alternative provision and specialist academies.  In the last four years Prosper Learning Trust have successfully opened two new special free schools – Harry Watts Academy in Sunderland for pupils with a diagnosis of Autistic (5-16 years) and more recently Gilbert Ward Academy in Blyth, for pupils with SEMH (11-16 years).  Harry Watts Academy achieved an Ofsted Outstanding judgment in July 2023. All the key areas of quality of education, behaviours and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management were similarly evaluated as Outstanding.

The new special free school in Jarrow will provide 56 primary education places for children aged between four and 11, who have additional needs, including social, emotional and mental health needs. 

Stuart Easingwood, Director of Children's Services, said: "South Tyneside has high levels of children with significant social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs which are being identified at an earlier age.  

"This additional resource will mean more children will be able to receive specialist education tailored to their unique needs within South Tyneside."

Chris Richardson, Chief Executive Officer of Prosper Learning Trust, said: "This is a significant moment for South Tyneside and Prosper Learning Trust are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as the approved sponsor for the new Jarrow Special Free School.

"We aim to deliver a school that will serve the community of South Tyneside and neighbouring local authorities. Working together with all our partners in the borough, we will create a school that will be recognised as a centre of excellence, providing a specialist curriculum that will meet the needs of all its pupils and allow young people to access the support they need in their own community, at a school they can feel proud of."

The new school will be built by the Department for Education on the former Epinay School site on Clerveaux Terrace, Jarrow, NE32 5UP. 

The Government has encouraged local authorities to work together on this project and while this school will primarily meet the needs of children in South Tyneside there will be a proportion of places for pupils from the neighbouring council areas.