London Borough of Croydon

Provider sought to run new, free 150-place school

Please note: The deadline for receipt of applications has now passed and any applications submitted after midnight on 24 November 2017 will not be reviewed. We will be keeping this page updated with the progress.

Capital funding for a new build special school has been agreed by the Department for Education and the council has provisionally identified a site in New Addington for a brand new, purpose-built 150-place school. The school will admit children aged 2-19 years, with autism and learning difficulties, with the aim of providing a local pathway from the early years to adulthood.

Croydon has a rapidly expanding population, which means we have the largest youth population of any London borough.

Over the last 5 years, we have had the largest school building programme in the UK and have a track record of creating award-winning buildings for our partner learning providers to operate from. 

Since 2010 we have also seen the number of young people for whom the Local Authority maintains an Education, Health and Care Plan increase from 1,800 to 2,500.

As a result it is a major priority for the council to invest in more local places to avoid young people having to travel outside the borough to access education.

What the council is looking for from a successful bidder?

It is critically important to Croydon that this is a flagship SEN provision, offering the best possible learning environment for those of our young people who need the most help and support.

To this end we are seeking evidence in proposals of the following key expertise and experience:

1. Provision of specialist education for children with autism which addresses the social communication, cognitive, sensory and social, emotional needs of these young people to support consistently good progress and outcomes of independence and employment. Croydon Council has an expectation of a communication and behaviour-based model of curriculum delivery.

2. Collaborative working between local special schools, mainstream schools and the local authority. Croydon head teachers and the local authority work collegiately, there are regular partnership meetings. The new free special school provider is expected to play an active role and support the development of outstanding education practice for children with autism across and between schools.

3. Integration with the local community and promotion of inter-generational cohesion. Croydon special schools have a strong tradition of sharing their facilities and providing a location for a range of community-based activities and short breaks for children and families.

A site has been identified for this special free school at - Pavilion, Rowdown Field, Lodge Lane New Addington CR0 0QA.

Invitation to submit proposals

Special School Revenue Funding Guidance

Croydon council and the Department for Education would like to invite interested proposers to submit proposals for the establishment of the new academy.

Our timetable is:

  • 27 September 2017 - Local launch of the free school competition
  • October 2017 - Regular updates responding to queries on website.  Potential further public meeting if required
  • 24 November 2017 - Closing date for any potential sponsors to submit their application to run the free school
  • End November 2017 - DfE, Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) and Croydon to evaluate submitted applications.  Determine preferred sponsor/s
  • Early December 2017 - Croydon to interview shortlisted sponsor/s
  • Mid December 2017 - DfE and Croydon determine preferred sponsor

Proposers should complete their full applications by 24 November 2017 and submit them to both Croydon council ( and the Department for Education via, with one copy going via email to both as well as one hard copy going to the LA, and two hard copies to the department (address provided in the application guide).

Contact details and further information

If you would like any further information or would like to discuss your application, please contact:

Alison Farmer
Head of the 0-25 SEND Service
(Croydon Council)
0778 577 4063

Jennifer Wade
Head of School Place Planning,
Admissions and Learning Access
0208 604 7156

Dominic Herrington
RSC’s office: (South East and South London)

Useful documents:

Proposed site

The proposed site of the new school is the Timebridge community centre site, Field Way, New Addington, subject to Local Plan adoption in early 2018 and subsequent planning consent. 



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