CONSTRUCTION work has started on a much needed multi-million pound rebuild of a Poole special school.

Montacute School at Canford Heath is being funded under the government’s Priority School Building Programme as one of 261 schools in England in the worst condition. The special school academy educates 75 pupils between the ages of two and 19 years with physical, health and learning difficulties.

After the disappointment of missing out on a £10million total rebuild when the government’s Building Schools for the Future project was axed in 2010, the school was deemed top priority under the PSBP scheme for immediate action.

The successful bid of around £5m will see a new school and swimming pool built north of the current building, with access from Canford Heath Road.

Contractors from Kier have begun work and expect to complete the rebuild by Easter 2015.

The new build will allow the school to increase in size to 80 pupils, while the Borough of Poole-funded 12m by 8m swimming pool costing around £500,000 will be equipped with modern lifting equipment.

“We are very excited to think that in a year’s time we are going to be able to move into a wonderful, purpose-built school,” said head teacher Jill Owen.

“This new building will give our pupils the kind of learning environment they so richly deserve.”

The dilapidated old school and pool will be demolished after the new school is completed.

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove said: “I am delighted that construction has started at Montacute School as part of this government’s Priority School Building Programme.

“This programme is ensuring vital building work takes place at some of the most dilapidated schools across the country. It is providing much better value for money than previous school building schemes, while making sure children are able to learn in a safe and secure environment.”