South west academy trust approved to run Gloucester's new £16.5 million special school

An education academy trust experienced in supporting children and young people with special educational needs, Reach South, has been approved to run a new 200-place special school in Gloucester.

By Jake Chown  |  Published
The new Gloucester special school, which is set to open in 2026, will support primary and secondary aged children with moderate and additional learning difficulties.

South west education provider Reach South Academy Trust has been approved by the Secretary of State for Education to run a new special educational needs and disabilities school in Gloucester.

The new 200-place special school is being led by Gloucestershire County Council to address a growing demand for special school places in the county. It will open in Gloucester in 2026, subject to planning approval.

The trust — which recently took over the running of another Gloucestershire special school, Peak Academy in Cam — currently provides primary, secondary and special education at 17 academies across the south west.

The new Gloucester special school will support primary and secondary aged children from across the county with moderate and additional learning difficulties.

The £16.5 million facility will be built on land owned by the county council, which is intended for education purposes, at Wheatridge East in Abbeydale in Gloucester.

Dean Ashton, CEO of Reach South Academy Trust, said: 'We are delighted to be selected as the trust to run this exciting new special school in Gloucestershire.

'We are committed to being a high quality, inclusive trust. Our schools cover the whole range of provision for children and young people, and we are committed to providing the very best for children and young people with special educational needs.

'We believe in strong partnerships and work collectively with the full range of partners and very much look forward to working with Gloucestershire County Council, schools, parents, and local community organisations to achieve the very best.'

The project is part of £30 million of investment from the council to increase the number of special school places in Gloucestershire, with particular demand in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

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