London Borough of Croydon

Are you the organisation with knowledge, experience and commitment to provide outstanding education for Croydon’s children and young people with autism in a new free 150-place school?

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

A key focus for the Borough is improving outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and supporting young people in achieving independence and employment in or near their local community.

Over the last 5 years, Croydon has had the largest school building programme in the UK, and a track record of creating award-winning buildings for our partner learning providers to operate from. This has been driven largely by our rapidly expanding population, which means we have the largest youth population of any London borough. It has also meant that since 2010 we have 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 a priority for the council to invest in more local places to avoid young people having to travel outside the borough to access education.

About the location

New Addington is a large area dominated by social housing to the east of Croydon on the Bromley borders. The area is:

  • easily accessible by tram and bus
  • on the edge of a large area of green belt with open countryside within minutes of the proposed site
  • near a large shopping parade with a modern public library, within which is one of the borough’s Adult Education Centres.

Plans are now in place for regeneration of the local leisure facilities, and a new complex will be built in the next few years, including both a learner pool and a competition-standard pool, as well as a host of sports and community facilities. Subject to the outcome of consultation on the Croydon local plan it is hoped planning applications for the site could be submitted by the middle of next year.

The scheme will be put together in close liaison with service users through Croydon’s parent/carer forum, Parents in Partnership (PIP).

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. The free special school will provide 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. The free special school will be expected to support 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. 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.  The special school provider will be expected to develop a role within the local community and to support inter-generational cohesion.

For more information please see the following downloadable documents:

A pre-registration form is compulsory for all potential proposer groups to complete before applying. Visit for more information. 


  • Open day for potential bidders: 27 September 2017 – Bernard Weatherill House, Fell Rd, Croydon
  • Closing date for bid submissions: The competition closes at mid-day on 24 November 2017
  • Notification date for successful bid: (as above)
  • Estimated construction start date: TBC
  • School opening date: September 2020


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