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First Turf Turned on New Special School Build in Shepshed

Work has begun on the building a new special school in Leicestershire, which will support pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Bowman Academy will provide support for up to 65 pupils aged five to 16.

Leicester Time: First Turf Turned on New Special School Build in Shepshed
Artist impression of the new Bowman Academy

Based at the former site of St Botolph’s Primary School in Shepshed, facilities will include a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and a variety of classrooms, including science and art studios. 

It will also feature a music room, a sensory / immersive room and a quiet, calming room, as well as an outdoor dedicated outdoor learning area and a car park and drop-off points. 

The sustainably built school is being constructed by contractors Bowmer + Kirkland for the Department for Education and will be run by the Community Inclusive Trust (CIT), which heads up several schools including Foxfields Academy, a specialist SEMH school in Blaby. 

Cllr Deborah Taylor, cabinet member for Children and Families at Leicestershire County Council, said: “It’s exciting seeing work starting on the build and we look forward to seeing it taking shape. 

“This is an important part of a wider programme to ensure provision is available to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the county, as close to their homes as possible. 

“This includes both the building of special schools and creating provision in mainstream schools.” 

James Ellis, CIT’s Director of SEND Education, said: “We are excited to be breaking ground here today, marking the commencement of this new state-of-the-art build. 

“SEMH is a unique sector of education and requires dedicated, specialist support. Bowman Academy will provide much-needed places for children in Shepshed and the surrounding area.”

Leicester Time: First Turf Turned on New Special School Build in Shepshed
Partners mark the start of work on the new Bowman Academy in Shepshed

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are delighted to see that work has started on the Bowman Academy, which will provide state-of-the-art facilities, delivering on the department’s Improvement Plan to reform the support system for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

“Every child deserves to have access to education that meets their needs, which is why we will continue to announce further special free schools.”

Bowman Academy is due to open in September 2024. There are also plans to build a 90-place school for children with special needs and disabilities in Quorn after the Department for Education approved the county council’s funding via its Special Free School Programme earlier this year.