BARNSLEY and Sheffield City Council will this month submit a joint bid to the Department for Education - worth up to £15m - for a new 200-place special school.

It was revealed this week, in a Sheffield City Council report, a joint bid will be submitted for a free special school in the north of Sheffield - though the exact location of the site has yet to be confirmed.

It will offer kids with autism the chance to attend a free school in the local area, increasing availability of specialist provision places.

The neighbouring authority have confirmed they have set aside £600,000 of funding for abnormalities - and Barnsley Council is expected to match the funding - though the costs could reach up to £15m for the entire site.

If funding is granted, the school is expected to be completed by 2027/28.

A report revealed this week states: “As part of a wider strategy to meet this demand, in October 2022 Sheffield City Council will submit a joint bid with Barnsley Council to the national special free school process led by the Department for Education for a new 200 place special free school.

“This school will provide places for primary and secondary aged pupils with autism and communication/interaction needs. “Estimated build costs of such a provision are between £12m and £15m.

“These costs would be met by the DfE who would procure and deliver the construction.

“However, as part of the bidding process SCC is required to evidence a commitment to meet any abnormal costs that may arise on the site.

“These costs cover a large range of issues including, but not limited to, flooding and alleviation measures, utility provision and ecological provision.

“An estimate of these potential costs is £1.2m which will be split equally between SCC and Barnsley Council.

“This approval will provide evidence to DfE of the inclusion of an allocation for these costs in SCCs capital programme.

“Should the bid be successful, the DfE will invoice SCC and BMBC for the costs of any site abnormals identified as part of detailed feasibility works.”

The plans have broken cover just weeks after it was revealed Worsbrough’s Elmhirst Youth Centre will cater for 40 youngsters with special educational needs and disabilities, in a bid to reduced costly out-of-borough placements.

It is set to undergo a £1.3m refurbishment ahead of its reopening.

The Department for Education allocated Barnsley £3.82m for 2022/23 and a further £3.27m for 2023/24 to deliver new SEND places and to improve existing SEND facilities and provision.

A free 25-year lease is set to be agreed as a result, allowing Nexus Multi-Academy Trust to take over the venue for the 2022/23 school year onwards.

Key stages three and four - which refer to ages 11 to 16 - will be targeted due to growing demand for local places and the council’s quest to reduce out-of-borough placements.