Skip to content ↓

Press Release March 2019

A new school designed with the sensory needs of children at its heart, is being planned for Newton Abbot.  Glendinning House Academy will be a new, special free school for children aged 7 to 19 years with social communication and interaction needs including Autism Spectrum Condition.

Glendinning House will provide 120 new school places for children who would benefit from a special school environment because of barriers to learning, which include sensory processing needs and anxiety. 

Subject to planning permission being granted and to the Secretary of State for Education entering into a funding agreement, the new school is due to open in September 2020.  The newly-built school will be located on the former Milber Infants site within walking distance of Newton Abbot’s town centre.  Approval has been given to demolish the existing buildings on site and a planning application for the new school is due to be submitted in mid-March 2019. 

The former Milber land and buildings have been provided by Devon County Council.

Devon County Council's deputy leader and Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said the authority was increasing the number of special school places available with openings in North Devon, Exeter and Tiverton as well as Newton Abbot.

"These schools will provide high-quality care and education for the growing number of children in our county who have special educational needs, closer to their homes,” he said.

"That's important for them and their families. It's also an important investment by Devon County Council because our budget for high needs' pupils is under intense pressure and this means we can meet their needs in a Devon school closer to their families and communities."

The Department for Education gave South Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust the green light to develop the new school following a successful bid as part of the Free School Programme. The bid was supported by Devon County Council and many local parents and schools.  Working in close partnership with the Trust, Devon County Council SEN will be responsible for admissions to the new government funded special school when the school is named on a child’s Education Health and Care Plan. 

An information event will be held at the Buckland and Milber Community Centre on the 24th April 2019 beginning at 6.30pm with a presentation and opportunity to chat with the team.  For further information please visit or follow the school on Facebook @glendinninnghouseacademy.


Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Teignbridge’s Executive Member for Housing and Planning, said:

The proposals for a new school in Teignbridge are great news and will benefit local families. I welcome the news about this important infrastructure as Newton Abbot continues to grow, providing much-needed homes for local people.

“Glendinning House will have a profoundly positive impact on local children and families who may have struggled to find a suitable school place locally.

“As well as offering a much-needed specialist school, the new school will provide around 50  jobs and training opportunities.


Beatrice Mukherjee, Glendinning House Development Lead for South Dartmoor Academy Trust, said:

Subject to planning being granted we expect the school will be built from August 2019 and completed by August 2020. The Head Teacher will be in position from January 2020 and recruitment for the staff team will begin in October 2019.

“The school will open with a cohort of 48 pupils growing to 120 pupils over 3 to 5 years.  The curriculum will be focused on learning in the outdoors and through practical experience. It has been designed to develop children’s communication and interaction skills in a different environment to that of a traditional classroom.

“Pupils will work with small animals, learn horticulture, study nature and take part in Forest School activities whilst studying the national curriculum.  Academic learning will develop alongside communication and interaction skills as children develop their understanding of themselves and others. 

“Smaller class sizes than a traditional school and greater levels of personalisation with a curriculum that supports more than academic progress means that pupils will be supported to develop independence, gain relevant qualifications and achieve their ambitions. The school is looking forward to working closely with local businesses in order to offer work experience and contribute towards community projects.