New SEND school in Wiltshire could be open by autumn 2026

MORE school places for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will be available in Wiltshire after it was confirmed a new free school will open in the county.

The new school, for 130 pupils, will provide specialist provision for pupils aged four to 19 years with social emotional and mental health needs (SEMH).

It will be located at Bitham Park, Westbury, subject to completion of feasibility studies and planning permissions, Wiltshire Council said.

It will be run by Brunel Academies Trust, which runs several schools in Wiltshire and Swindon.

Wiltshire Council successfully bid to the Department for Education (DfE) to build a new school in the Westbury area to help meet the need for more special school places in West Wiltshire.

The school could be opened by Autumn 2026.

Cllr Jane Davies, cabinet member for SEND, said: “This is welcome news and ensures our long-term ambition to create sufficient special school places across Wiltshire takes an important step forward.

“We are committed to ensuring we have sufficient spaces with opportunities for all children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to ensure they have schooling that provides them with the very best opportunities to learn.”

Cllr Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I am delighted we’ve appointed an education provider with a proven track record and that can ensure a good quality of learning for our children and young people.

“Our Business Plan has a clear commitment to finding the right specialist support for children with special educational needs. This latest development is helping us fulfil this important pledge and securing long term provision in Wiltshire.”

Jackie Fieldwick MBE, CEO of the Brunel Academies Trust, added: “This is certainly an exciting opportunity for Wiltshire and Brunel.

“We are committed to putting children and families first and we look forward to firmly establishing ourselves as exceptional providers within Wiltshire.

“We already have a proven track record within Swindon, and with our newly appointed Director of Wiltshire SEND we are confident of delivering quality provisions.”

The latest development is in addition to the special schools build already created since 2020, the council said, with 911 high needs places and resource bases created, and more planned.

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