Two Bridges Academy.
The demand for a school
South Gloucestershire Council as the Local Authority has a statutory duty to use its best endeavours to ensure that special educational provision is made for those who need it. Since 2014 the Council has created additional places at existing special schools where possible, but the capacity for expansion has now been exhausted.
The Council’s analysis of demand for school places indicates an increase of circa 750 children with an Education health care plan (EHCP) by 2027 with 250 children having SLD/autism and PMLD.
Accordingly, a new special school is an important part of helping the Council reduce its current reliance on out of authority provision and will save the Council an estimated £7.6m per annum. This provision will also bring significant benefit to local children and families who would otherwise be transported to attend specialist provision out of the local area and at some distance from their home.
Why a school in this location?
A comprehensive search of possible sites within the South Gloucestershire administrative area has been undertaken. With the exception of the proposed site at Marlwood School, there are no other sites that are of suitable size, available, deliverable and meet the Council’s strategy.
“There are additional benefits of locating Two Bridges next to Marlwood School, including supporting inclusion, disability awareness, co-developing SEND expertise, leadership opportunities for students and for developing skills in citizenship and British values.
As the site is located within the Green Belt, a case based on ‘Very Special Circumstances’ has been developed as part of the pre-application process and will support the planning application when submitted to South Gloucestershire Council as the Local Planning Authority.