New special school for Newham

New Special School for Newham now open

On 11 March 2019 the Department for Education (DfE) announced the approval of 39 new special free schools across the country, including Newham.   A new 105 place special free school is being developed to address growing needs and a shortage of places. The new school – known as the Connaught school - caters for children and young people aged between 5 and 19 providing education for children and young people with autism, whose needs cannot be met in mainstream settings.

The Department for Education together with Newham Council undertook a competition process in 2019 to seek a provider to run the new special school; Newham parent representatives were part of the process. In the spring of 2020 Learning in Harmony Trust was selected as the chosen provider to operate the new school.

The permanent building for the Connaught school will be on a site near Royal Docks provided by the Council, with the cost of the school being funded through the DfE central free school wave.  The permanent building is expected to open in the 2024-25 academic year.

In September 2024, the Connaught special school opened in temporary accommodation at Upton Cross Primary School and the first pupils have been admitted.

Other Specialist Provision

Newham is continuing to invest in resourced provision at mainstream schools and expansion of special schools where needed. In September 2023, 20 additional places opened at JFK special school in Beckton for children and young people with autism. A further 20 places will be provided in the 2024-25 academic year.

Contact us

For more information about the Connaught special school and expansion of specialist provision, please contact:

Peter Gibb, Head of Education Access and Infrastructure at