£16.5 million for a new 200-place special school

Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve funding for a new special school for children aged 4 to 16.

On Wednesday 19 July, cabinet will be asked to approve £16.5 million to set up a new special school for children with moderate and additional learning difficulties.

If approved, it will be an ‘all-through’ school for up to 200 primary and secondary pupils, opening in 2026. It will be built on land owned by the county council, which can only be used for education purposes, at Wheatridge East in Abbeydale in Gloucester.

There continues to be an increasing need for special school places in the county, with the highest number of places needed in Gloucester and Cheltenham, and at a location within easy reach of other parts of the county. The shortage of places locally means some children currently travel to schools out of county or to independent schools to have their educational needs met.

To help address this need, the county council delivered Brook Academy last September, a £9.75 million 80-place secondary special school. The council is also spending over £1 million to turn a former mainstream primary school in Stroud into a 60-place primary special school, Sladewood Academy, which will open in September 2023.

The council has invested £2.7 million in recent years to create additional places at existing special schools across the county, such as Belmont School in Cheltenham and Alderman Knight School in Tewkesbury.

“Our priority is to make sure more children get the specialist education they need at a school closer to where they live. We’re investing over £30 million in special school places to make sure all children in the county have access to high quality education.”

Cllr Philip Robinson, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Bus Transport

Should plans gain Cabinet approval, the council will work closely with the local councillor, Cllr Andrew Gravells, who is supportive of the proposals, partners and other key stakeholders, like the Parent Carer Forum, to make sure that local residents and parents in the SEND community have the opportunity to feedback on plans for the school.

The school building will be designed to operate at net zero carbon emissions, in line with the county council’s pledge to reduce Gloucestershire’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050. 

Find more information and frequently asked questions at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/new-special-school-gloucester

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