Rishi Sunak welcomes progress on new special needs school

The former Grammar School in Northallerton.

Rishi Sunak has welcomed progress on creating a new special school in the area.

Plans are now well advanced to establish a new free school for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs on the site of the town’s former Grammar School.

It will be called Springwell Northallerton.

Mr Sunak, MP for Richmond (Yorks), said it had been announced that the Wellspring Academy Trust would run the new free school in Grammar School Lane. The Trust would work with local education authority – North Yorkshire Council – to open the new school as soon as possible.

He said: “Demand for special school places is growing across the UK and I know from my own correspondence with constituents that it is a significant issue here.

“The new school will mean 120 additional places for eight to 16-year-olds to meet this demand and deliver better outcomes for pupils who require this specialist provision.”

“I also welcome the fact that the old Grammar School – an important part of the history of our county town – will have a new educational role.”

The announcement about the Wellspring Trust’s appointment was contained in a letter to Mr Sunak from Baroness Barran, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education.

She wrote: “The Trust can now begin the task of converting its vision into reality, working with officials and North Yorkshire Council to deliver additional, specialist high-quality places in North Yorkshire.”

The Wellspring Academy Trust runs 31 academies in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, including the Harrogate and Knaresborough area.

The old Grammar School buildings in Northallerton have been empty since 2021 when the town’s secondary school pupils moved to the old Allertonshire School site in Brompton Road. The rebuilding of the school was secured with a £8.7m grant from the Department for Education.

Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, said: “The local authority welcomes the investment in specialist SEN education provision within North Yorkshire. The authority is working with the Department for Education (DfE) to prepare the site for the DfE-led project for this much-needed new free special school.


  1. It’s a good thing but a long way to travel if you live up the Dales.

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