A new 200-place special educational needs (SEND) school is to be built in Kempston, Bedfordshire, after planning permission was granted last week.

The school will be built on land at the town’s former Robert Bruce Middle School site.

Janine Laver, Bedford Borough Council’s development manager, said: “The school is to address a significant deficiency in SEND capacity within the borough.

“Over 100 Bedford borough SEND students are currently educated in schools outside of the borough.”

Councillor Sue Oliver (Labour, Kempston North) said: “As a retired special needs coordinator in Bedfordshire, I know how important it is to have the right high-quality provision for a whole range of needs.

“And those numbers of special educational needs pupils have only increased since I retired years ago, so it’s important to have the provision.

“[As] a former portfolio holder for children’s social care, I’m aware of the importance of having that provision for our youngsters close to home or at least within the borough.

“At the moment, we’re not managing that for at least 100 of our pupils, we’re sending them out of the borough for their education.

“So from an educational point of view, this will be a good thing – to have a state-of-the-art 200 place special school within our own borough.”

Planning permission was granted unanimously by committee members.

The school is set to open in phases, starting in September 2024.

It will be the second special needs school in Kempston.

The permission was obtained by Bidwells Planning & Heritage on behalf of Wates Group, Bedford Borough Council, and Bedford Inclusive Learning and Traning Trust.

Image source: Bidwells

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