Aspire Academy in Bath is to receive £2.2m funding from Bath & North East Somerset Council. It means that the former Bath Studio School buildings, which adjoin Aspire, part of the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, can be adapted to meet the needs of special school pupils.

The expansion, which has been approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner Hannah Woodhouse and the South West Headteacher Board, will enable the school to take in up to 120 pupils. This will double the number of children aged four to 16 on roll and will also allow Aspire to add a small sixth form, with places for eight 16 to 18-year-olds. 

Tim Howes, chief operating officer at Wellsway MAT, said, “It means we will be able to increase the number of places available locally for children with diagnosed social, emotional and mental health needs, for whom a mainstream school might not be appropriate. We will also be able to offer some places for young people with more complex needs, including autistic spectrum conditions.

“This additional provision is much needed in B&NES and should reduce the number of children who have to travel long distances outside the area for their schooling 

“We are looking forward building on the successful specialist work at Aspire, which is rated Good by Ofsted, to create a hub for special educational needs and disabilities provision.”