A new special needs school is set to open in Twickenham as part of the latest round of free school applications.

The Maaz will be a 72-place special school for children aged four to 19, and will be for children with an education, health and care plan or statement of special educational needs as a result of speech, language and communication or social, emotional and mental health issues - including autism.

The school will be expected to have 28 primary pupils, 35 secondary pupils, and nine students aged between 16 and 19.

The Auriga Academy Trust - formed by the borough's existing special schools, Clarendon and Strathmore - will run the school, with the council hoping that it will open on two council-owned sites in Twickenham.

The Stamp Education Trust's bids for two primary schools - Franklin House in Teddington and another school in Surbiton - were rejected in the round announced today, but it is expected that the trust will consider reapplying in the next round of applications in the summer.

Councillor Paul Hodgins, Richmond's cabinet member for for schools said he was disappointed that the trust had not succeeded in their bids, but said the announcement about The Maaz was “fantastic news”. 

He said: “This new school is desperately needed and will provide much-needed places for local children and young people with special needs to meet forecast need. 

“We have worked very closely with the Auriga Academy Trust to develop their proposals.

“Only one in four applications across Richmond and Kingston got through and only 16 in the whole of London.

“This will be our third special school in the borough and I’m particularly pleased that more children with special educational needs will be able to be educated within their community rather than having to travel to schools well outside the borough.

“I am though, disappointed that the applications from the Stamp Education Trust were not approved. We are already anticipating that in the next round they will be resubmitted, together with a new application for a secondary school in Mortlake.”

Harry James, chair of the Auriga Academy Trust, said: “This is great news for young people with special needs and their families.

“It means they will benefit from outstanding education and be close to home. 

“I am very excited at the prospect of the new school and I would like to thank everyone involved in the application for their hard work and dedication.”