Marlwood academy site chosen for free school

April 30 2018

A NEW special free school is set to be opened in Alveston within 17 months.

The school, to eventually accommodate 112 youngsters, will be built on the Marlwood School site and will be for children with severe learning difficulties, autism and profound and multiple learning difficulties. 

Once fully opened, it will provide schooling to children from nursery age to 19 but initially it will offer 32 places for nursery and primary age youngsters from September 2019.

Older pupils will then join the school over a three year period.

The announcement of the school for South Gloucestershire was made last summer after the Government said it would fund its construction.

But there had to be a four-month process involving organisations interested in running it to submit their plans.

Those were then assessed by South Gloucestershire Council and the Department for Education ahead of final approval from the Education Secretary.

Marlwood is part of the Castle School Education Trust (CSET) and its chief executive, Will Roberts, said: “Sharing this large site will help to ensure the future sustainability of Marlwood School by reducing overhead costs and bringing much needed capital investment to the site.”

South Gloucestershire was approved for the school because of the continuing growing demand on its existing specialist education services.

Significant numbers of children with learning disabilities are required to travel some distance to schools and services outside the district and the new school will help local families find a place closer to home.

Toby Savage, the council’s Cabinet member for schools, said: “As our population grows, so do the numbers of young people who need specialist support.

“We have already supported the expansion of existing special schools at New Siblands in Thornbury and Warmley Park but they are reaching their maximum capacity.

“Working alongside CSET at Marlwood means we will increase the availability of high-support school places in brand new, purpose-built facilities.”