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New designs revealed for proposed special needs school on edge of Gloucester

The planned school will take-in 11 to 16-year-olds with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) to cope with a lack of school places in the county

New design plans have revealed how a proposed £7.5million special needs school could look when it is built on the edge of Gloucester.

The planned school will take-in 11 to 16-year-olds with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) to cope with a lack of school places in the county.

The school is proposed to be built on land off Mill Lane, in Brockworth, where 1,500 new homes are set to be completed as part of the Perrybrook development, and will support 75-pupils.

Gloucestershire County Council officer Clare Medland said the authority is currently having to send children with complex needs "long distances" out of county, such as Wales and beyond.

SEMH needs comes under the wider umbrella of special educational needs, and its schools support children with a range of different needs, including attachment issues, exposure to traumatic life experiences, depression or an eating disorder.

Designs at a public engagement event in Brockworth Community Centre yesterday (September 8) showed how how a senior rugby-sized pitch would be built at the rear of the school, that it would be two-storeys and would have a dedicated drop-off area away from residential roads.

The authority said while focusing on SEMH needs, the school will also support children with autism and speech, language and communication needs.

Clare Medland, head of commissioning for learning at the county council, said: "This is a new, proposed special school to meet the needs of a range of children who have social, emotional and mental health disabilities in the county.

"We have an under supply of places in the county in the county and we are currently having to send long distances to out of county schools. We therefore need this school to meet the needs of the local community.

"They could be going to Wales and further places where they are staying residentially because of the needs that those schools have for those children. What we want is a local resource to meet the needs of those children.

"The vast majority of children in Gloucestershire are based in Cheltenham and Gloucester, so we are looking at this location here which is in-between and can meet quite quickly the needs of those children.

Learn@Trust multi-academy Trust will sponsor the new school, which has several others in the South West region.

Peter Evans, CEO of the Trust, said: "We are very excited to be involved in Gloucestershire. We are an established, specialist multi-academy trust that caters for special schools and alternative provisions within the South West.

"We currently have five which we run, this will be our sixth. We are also due to open one in North Somerset.

"We are really excited about the opportunity to run a special school in Gloucestershire, and this one is very much around the needs of young people who we are very experienced with: those with social, emotional and mental health needs and communication needs."

Andrew Foster, partner at Robothams Architects, said: "Although we have been having brief discussions with the parish council, we are bringing our first parts of the design.

"It is a two-storey, bespoke design for 75-pupils. We are hoping to get feedback on the way it looks, how it works with the community and hopefully addresses some of the issues people may have."