A new SEN school will be one of the largest in the country when it is completed in Kempston, and council bosses saw the £26million project for themselves when they visited the former site of Robert Bruce Middle School.
Mayor Tom Wootton and Bedford Borough Council officers were joined by Councillor Jane Walker, Portfolio Holder for Family, Education and Children's Services, and her predecessor Councillor James Valentine.
The school on Hillgrounds Road will have places for 200 children and young people from across Bedford Borough. It will provide vital education for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities, aged 2-19, whose needs have been identified as requiring specialist educational placements. The children attending this new school will predominantly have profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities and autism.
The project has been funded in conjunction with the Department For Education (DfE) and is due to open in phases from September 2024.
Bedford Borough has seen an 18% increase in the number attending SEN schools in the last four years.
Mayor of Bedford Borough Tom Wootton said: “Signing off on this new school was one of the first things I did on my first day when I was elected. It will make an enormous difference to so many children and families for many years to come.
“Robert Bruce Middle School was beloved by the community for generations. This new school is going to be every bit as much a part of all our lives and is a flagship of our commitment to children with additional needs across Bedford Borough.”