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Academy sponsor announced for new special school


Gloucestershire County Council is pressing on with plans for the new special school as supporting vulnerable children remains a priority.


The Regional Schools Commissioner has approved Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust as the preferred sponsor to run a new special school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs.

In October 2019, following cabinet’s approval of over £7.5 million in funding, Gloucestershire County Council invited interested parties to submit bids to run the new school. After completing a selection process the council submitted their recommendation to the Regional Schools Commissioner who made the final decision.

The new special school will focus on social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, but will also cater for students with speech, language and communication needs and autism. Learn@ MAT, who run several academies in Bristol and Wiltshire, are highly skilled and experienced in supporting children and young people with a variety of complex needs.

As well as offering an impressive curriculum and range of support for children and young people and their families, Learn@ MAT have demonstrated their ability to achieve positive outcomes for pupils and equip them for further education, training and employment. They have had success in improving attendance and reducing exclusions, and helping pupils to integrate and reintegrate into mainstream education.

Cllr Patrick Molyneux, cabinet member for economy, education and skills at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Our priority, during the pandemic and beyond, is to makesure we’re supporting  children in Gloucestershire, but particularly the most vulnerable. That’s why we’re investing £157million into making sure all children get the education they deserve. 

We’re delighted to hear that Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust will be sponsoring the new special school, and we’re confident that they will help us achieve the best possible outcomes for some of our most vulnerable children and young people”.

Peter Evans, Chief Executive Officer at Learn@ MAT, said: “Learn@MAT has many years of experience working with young people with SEMH needs, as well as their families. I’m really pleased that we’ve been chosen to run the new school, and look forward to working closely with all involved, including the local community, to create an inspirational new school.

We aim to create a nurturing learning environment which recognises that all young people deserve equal opportunities to achieve their full potential. I know that we’ll be able to deliver an inclusive and personalised curriculum to equip these young people with the skills and experiences they need to achieve their goals”. 

Robothams architects have also been appointed by the lead contractor EG Carter. Both contractor and architect will be working closely with Learn@MAT and Gloucestershire County Council to design and build the school.

The school is due to open in 2022, and will provide 75 places for girls and boys aged 11 to 16 who would otherwise have to travel to schools out of county or to independent schools to meet their specific needs. The proposed site for the school is on Mill Lane in Brockworth, which would be easily accessible to both Gloucester and Cheltenham where there is the highest level of demand for this type of specialist education.This will save the council £1.5 million in placement costs and £360,000 in transport costs each year.

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