New special school for Newham

New Special School for Newham to be run by Learning in Harmony Trust

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 to be developed to address growing needs and a shortage of places. The new school will cater for children and young people aged between 5 and 19 providing education for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) needs.

The Department for Education together with Newham Council undertook a competition process from May 2019 to September 2019 to seek a provider to run the new special school. In the spring of 2020 Learning in Harmony Trust was selected as the chosen provider to operate the new school.  The Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson approved the decision following a rigorous assessment process involving Council officers, Newham parent representatives and officials from the Department of Education. 

The school will be built on a site near Royal Docks to be provided by the Council, with the cost of the school being funded through the DfE central free school wave.  The DfE are now working with Newham Council and the Learning in Harmony Trust to establish the school. The earliest the new school will open is September 2022.

Other Specialist Provision

Newham is also:

  • Continuing to invest in resourced provision at mainstream schools (four new/expanded Resource Bases opened in 2018);
  • Planning special school ‘satellite’ provision on mainstream school sites which will combine opportunities for inclusion with specialist expertise for children with complex needs;
  • Providing additional special school places on a temporary basis (5 years) at a new annexe to JFK Special School.

Other information

New Special School Press Release PR5442 July 2020

New School Specification – February 2019

Contact us

For more information about the new special school, please contact:

Peter Gibb, Head of Access and Infrastructure at