The Promise School – press release

21 January 2022 |

New school plans receive overwhelmingly positive response. Plans for a specialist social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) school in Dartmoor have received glowing praise from the community.

The Promise School, due to open its state-of-the-art campus in September 2023, is being developed by Dartmoor Multi-Academy Trust (DMAT).

In line with guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), the Trust ran a public consultation on these plans, which came to a close shortly before Christmas. ​​​​​​​

Of the 83 respondents who responded to the Trust’s online survey:

  • 100% agreed that there is a need for a new school that cater for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in the Devon area
  • 95% agreed that the mission statement for The Promise School was clear
  • 94% agreed that the proposed learner offer meets the needs of the children and young people in question

Alongside this, respondents noted that “the school is desperately needed in our area,” and that it was “good to see that a Trust which has expertise in SEND is leading on the development of the school.”

This positive sentiment was also expressed during in-person information events held by the Trust, with one attendee noting that “there was a clear moral imperative coming through… that was very reassuring about wanting to get this right for the children of Devon.”

The finalised report, which has been agreed by DMAT’s Trustees and officials in the Department for Education, is now available. Please see report below.

The Trust also received a wide array of constructive and useful feedback from the process, which will now be explored and put into action by the school’s new Principal Designate, Ms Tracy Ashton. Tracy joins the school with a wealth of experience, having worked in Lipson Cooperative Academy as Senior Deputy Head for Inclusion for over twenty years.

While work on the new site is being completed, a small number of students will be made at home in two of DMAT’s other academies; St James’ Primary and Okehampton Community College.

The students will have a dedicated space on each site during the 2022/23 Academic Year, meaning they are fully welcomed into the DMAT family of schools during their first year with the school.

Tracy Ashton, Principal Designate of The Promise School, said: “I am hugely excited to get underway in this role, and to build upon the positive momentum which this project has already generated. Our consultation results highlight the comprehensive plans which the Trust have put in place, and I am looking forward to working closely with everyone in the community to bring this much-needed school to life.”