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Gloucestershire Business News

Nearly £25 million pledged for Gloucestershire schools

Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet will be asked to approve the school investment programme next week.

The forecast spend on county schools for 2022/23 is £24.9 million.

The Children and Families Capital Programme manages the building of new schools, and the expansion and refurbishment of existing schools around the county.

The council has committed to spending over £100 million on school projects across the county, including opening two brand new schools in autumn 2022: the High School Leckhampton, a £34.6 million 900-place secondary school in Cheltenham; and Brook Academy, a £9.75 million purpose-built special school in Brockworth.

Some of the bigger projects that will complete during this academic year include:

• A £7.5 million replacement school building for Warden Hill Primary School in Cheltenham

• A new £1.6 million unit for children with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) at Heart of the Forest Community Special School in Coleford

• A new £650,000 primary special needs school in Stroud

Warden Hill Primary is rated as an 'outstanding' school by Ofsted, however, the building was in need of extensive refurbishment. Detailed investigations showed it was a more efficient use of resources to replace the existing buildings with a brand new one. A £7.5 million project is currently underway to provide the school with a flexible and sustainable building, which is due to complete in spring 2023.

There is an increasing demand in Gloucestershire for special school places, which means these children sometimes have to go to schools out of the county or to independent schools when there aren't places available locally.

To meet this demand, the county council built Brook Academy, an 80-place secondary special school for children with SEMH needs, which opened in autumn 2022.

To increase special school places for primary aged children, a new £650,000 primary special school is currently underway, and will open in the former Severn View Primary School building in Stroud in September 2023. The primary school will support 60 children from across the county with moderate and additional learning difficulties (MALD).

Subject to planning approval, the council will also build a new £1.6 million unit dedicated to supporting primary aged children with SEMH needs at the Heart of the Forest Community Special School, to make sure more children with these specialised needs have the opportunity to go to school close to where they live and that places are available where there is the most demand.

Cllr Philip Robinson, cabinet member for education at Gloucestershire County Council, said, "We are committed to investing over £100 million in the county's schools and this year's budget represents a significant part of that investment. We want to make sure that young people have access to a great education close to their home, with the best possible facilities, and this investment helps us deliver exactly that."

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