PLANS for a new school in Salisbury for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have taken a “significant step forward”.

Tilbury Douglas has been appointed by the Department for Education as the preferred building contractor for the project.

The SEND Free School project for the former South Wiltshire UTC site on Wilton Road, which closed in August 2019, will offer 150 places and will also accommodate pupils with a diagnosis or primary need of autism or social, emotional or mental health needs.

The site is being developed by the Department for Education with Reach South Academy Trust and Wiltshire Council, in preparation for the Trust to take up the reins at the end of the project.

Jon Hamp, Reach South Director of Individual Needs and Special Free School Project Lead said: “We were delighted to hear of the appointment of Tilbury Douglas as the approved building contractor and see this as a significant step taken in our bid to open the free school. Tilbury Douglas are really experienced in building schools for pupils with specific needs and I am very excited by the plans we have discussed so far.

“We’re looking forward to the contractor submitting planning applications to make sure we get our school building exactly as we would want it.”

Paul Gale, the divisional director for Tilbury Douglas Southern region, added: “We are very much looking forward to transforming this site, bringing our significant experience in SEND Schools to this project and working with the Department of Education, Reach South Academy Trust and Wiltshire Council to deliver this much needed facility for young people in Salisbury.”

Reach South runs Springfields Academy which is based across two sites in Calne and at Sarum Academy in Salisbury.

Dean Ashton, the chief executive of Reach South, added: “Special educational needs schools and resource bases are vital parts of the provision across our Trust. This school will prove hugely important for the young people of Salisbury and the surrounding area as we propose to address demand by significantly enhancing provision of specialised education for young people with a diagnosis or primary need of autism (ASD) or social, emotional or mental health needs (SEMH).

“We’ve made real progress with this project over the past year, there is still much to do before the school opens but everything is looking bright for our future plans.”

Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for SEND at Wiltshire Council, said: “I’m pleased we can share these important developments which are part of our wider long term plan to ensure we have sufficient places across Wiltshire for children and young people with SEND. We are working closely with our partners on this important work for the south to ensure we can have the school opened and ready for learners with SEND.”


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