Oxfordshire County Council has approved funding for a new £14.4 million school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The proposed school will be located in Didcot and is set to have the capacity to teach 120 students.

Current plans include providing specialized support for those experiencing issues related to autism and emotional or mental health.

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Preliminary design work is underway and details of the educational provision will be published for public consultation in February.

The academy trust set to run the school will be selected through a competitive process, with the final decision expected to be made later this year or early 2025 by the Department for Education.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2025, with the school anticipated to open in 2026 or 2027, providing the necessary planning permission is secured.

It's the first of two planned SEND schools in the area, adding to Oxfordshire's growing number of special schools, bringing the total up to seventeen.

Bloxham Grove Academy, in Bloxham, another new special school, opened earlier this month.

Councillor Kate Gregory, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for SEND improvement, said: "The proposed new school in Didcot will be an important part of our efforts to provide quality local facilities and support for SEND children.

"We're fully committed to improving Oxfordshire’s SEND services for children, young people and their families.

"We’ve recently published a priority action plan and are working together with families to make a difference to the way children and young people get the support they deserve."