Work will be beginning on a new £7.5 million Gloucestershire school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs in May, led by county construction firm E G Carter & Co Ltd.

It was October 2019 when the county council first invited interested parties to bid to run a new school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH), with Learn@MAT coming out the winner.

Since then, Gloucester-based E G Carter & Co Ltd – one of the firm’s on the county council’s preferred list of contractors – has been working with Warwick-based architects Robothams on the designs, and the scheme has just won planning approval.

‘The project suddenly had to be completed on-line, because of Covid, which saw us working through the detail virtually – but we are really pleased to be part of the project and help see it from stage zero through planning,’ said Sam Carter, of E G Carter & Co Ltd, explaining the challenges faced in meeting the deadlines. ‘We hope to be on site in May for an August 2022 completion and a September 2022 opening.’

It has been a busy year for the family-owned construction firm, which is also working away on the redevelopment of King’s Square, part of £100 million-plus The Forum Digital project, and has broken ground on Cirencester College’s new Digital Skills Centre. All of which is creating jobs both at the firm and in its supply chain.

‘We remain committed to training staff and bringing them through the business. The contracts manager for this site came through as a management trainee and lives in Gloucester, our surveyor for the job lives in Gloucester, as does out contracts manager,’ said Mr Carter.

The new Brockworth school will provide 75 places for children aged 11 to 16 who would otherwise have to travel to schools out of county or to independent schools to meet their specific needs.

According to the county council this will save it £1.5 million in placement costs and £360,000 in transport costs annually.

The 2.8 hectares (7.01 acres) site for the school is between Mill Lane and the A417 dual carriageway currently occupied by school playing fields leased by the county council to the adjacent Henley Bank School, an academy operated by the Greenshaw Learning Trust.

Learn@ Multi-Academy Trust runs several academies in Bristol and Wiltshire and is said to be ‘highly skilled and experienced in supporting children and young people with a variety of complex needs’.

By Andrew Merrell - SoGlos