Work to build a new £9.5 million special school in Brockworth has begun.

The new school on Mill Lane is due to open in September 2022 and will have 75 spaces for children aged 11 to 16.

The school will mainly cater for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, but will also support children with autism and speech, language and communication needs.

The building is designed to include a variety of enhanced environmental measures, including solar panels on the roof of the school.

Cllr Philip Robinson, cabinet member for economy, education and skills, attended the official ground-breaking event on 22 July alongside Cllr Robert Vines, member for Brockworth, and Chris Spencer, director of children’s services.

Cllr Robinson said: “Our priority is to ensure every child has access to the high-quality of education they deserve, in a way that is suited to their needs.

“This new school will allow more young people to reach their full potential and allow them to access their education closer to home.”

Children needing this type of school currently have to travel out of the county or to independent schools to meet their educational needs.

It is estimated that having this provision within Gloucestershire could save the council almost £2 million each year in placement and transport costs over coming years.

Mr Spencer said: “This school is an important step in providing much-needed additional special school places for children and young people in Gloucestershire and I am very pleased to see work progress on the site.”

The school will be run by the Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust, which has extensive experience in supporting children with these specific special needs and delivering high quality inclusive education.

Peter Evans, chief executive officer at Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust, said: “All children and young people deserve to be educated near to where they live. The start of construction work at our new academy will bring more specialist school places closer to Gloucestershire families and we’ll continue to work closely with all our partners to have everything ready for next September.”

Construction work on site is being led by family-run Gloucester firm E G Carter & Co Ltd, and work began in May.

Sam Carter, director at E G Carter & Co Ltd, said: “We are delighted with how works have progressed, since we commenced on site at Brockworth SEMH. We commenced pre-construction and design work on this project last March; just as the pandemic hit and we went into lockdown.

Our team, alongside our design team of Robotham Architects, Rowntree Partnership and Smith Consult, have performed brilliantly to get the scheme designed, through planning and onto site. With the steel frame due on site in the next couple of months, it is going to be fantastic to see this project continue to progress.”