A launch event has been held to mark the start of work on a new school for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) in South Gloucestershire.
The school will offer primary and secondary provision on two sites, with the celebration marking the start of work on the project at Mulberry Drive in Kingswood, which will provide a safe, nurturing environment for secondary pupils aged 11 to 16.
Sheila Cook, South Gloucestershire Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “We identified the need to provide such a facility following a review of wider special educational needs provision across the authority, which highlighted a significant increase in the numbers of pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.
“It is great to see building work start because we have a duty to ensure all young people have the best start to life and this specially built school will offer a fantastic learning environment closer to pupils’ homes in which I am sure the they will flourish.”
She added: “Importantly, community use was included in the design from an early stage and so there is a dedicated community entrance to the hall, changing facilities and to the external games court.”
The 35 place secondary school, which is due to open in September next year, will provide modern, up-to-date general and specialist spaces internally and externally with sports and recreational facilities.
Bristol-based contractor, Kier Western, has been appointed to build the new school. Operations director, Martyn Osborne, said: “Earlier this year we completed the council’s flagship offices in Yate, and we are delighted to be working again with the authority on this important education facility. We will work closely with the council to ensure we deliver a school that the students, teaching staff and the wider community, can be proud of.”
Owing to the needs of the pupils, the environment will provide areas with clear boundaries, enough personal space and facilities to allow individual support.
The building is designed as a very open, light and calming space, with an internal street corridor system allowing passive supervision of corridors from both floors. With a strong connection between inside and outside spaces, each classroom has direct access to an external classroom area.
The school has strong vocational facilities incorporating a motor vehicle workshop and a construction workshop. There is a music practice and control room, a large recreational area for socialising and game playing.
Externally, the site has a games court and a pond and outdoor horticultural classroom area incorporating allotments and a herb garden.
Primary provision for 4 to 11 year olds will be sited at Courtney Road and work is due to start later this year, with completion planned for 2012.
Source: South Gloucestershire Council