Opening confirmed for new SEN school

The school last year when it was being constructed

Bedford Borough Council is set to meet with parents to prepare for the new special education needs (SEN) school which will open in Kempston.

Rivertree Free School, on Hillgrounds Road, will eventually cater for 200 pupils, and will be one of the largest schools of its kind in the country.

The £26million school will be for children and young people aged from two to 19 years old from across Bedford Borough, whose needs have been identified as requiring specialist educational placements. Pupils attending this new school will predominantly have profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities and autism.

Information sharing sessions for families will be held on Thursday 23 May, providing families with an opportunity to meet staff from the school and the Trust, as well as representatives from Bedford Borough Council’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) service.

The original goal was for the school to open in time for the beginning of the new school year in September, but due to unforeseen circumstances this is now due to be delayed. This will give the Trust, staff, and Council the chance to help prepare for the children’s transfer to the new school.

Rivertree Free School has been funded in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) and will be run by the Bedford Inclusive Learning & Training Trust (BILTT).

It will open over three phases - 2024, September 2025, and September 2026, with 60 pupils in the first cohort.

A spokesperson for Bedford Borough Council said; “Rivertree will be a fantastic addition to the network of schools in Bedford Borough when it opens this autumn.

“While delays with building work will result in the opening later than we had first hoped, the Council is committed to ensuring that the children who are due to join Rivertree will continue to receive an appropriate education and for their needs to continue to be met until such time as the new school opens. We will continue to keep families updated.”

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