DEMOLITION of a former school in Purbeck is planned in preparation for the development of a new facility for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

It follows a consultation on the proposals for the former Bovington Middle School site based at the Bovington Park Business and Conference Centre. The school closed in August 2013.

The Harbour School scheme would bring a new free special school to the Cologne Road site.

The proposals were put forward by Dorset County Council (now Dorset Council) in partnership with the Delta Education Trust.

The Harbour School will meet the needs of children with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs, from the ages of 10 to 19.

At full capacity, the completed school will be able to accommodate 160 pupils and will employ at least 80 members of staff.

The Harbour School is expected to open in temporary buildings on the former middle school site in September. These buildings will accommodate 25 children.

There will then be a phased occupancy of the new school once construction has been completed, which is expected to be at the end of 2020.

There is “significant demand” for additional special school places in Dorset, according to the council. Currently, some children require residential provision as their education is provided so far from home.

The Harbour School will provide an opportunity for children in Bovington and surrounding areas to access education closer to home, eliminating excessive travel for some, which can be stressful for pupils with additional needs.

According to the council, the new school will “engage with the local community, developing positive relationships and providing a new resource for the residents of Bovington and the surrounding area”.

Delta Education Trust says the purpose-built accommodation will have a “range of specialist resources to enable us to meet the social, emotional, sensory and learning needs of our pupils”.

The trust said previously that it was “working collaboratively with the Department for Education and local authorities to minimize our length of stay in these temporary facilities”.

“It is anticipated that we will move to the new and permanent building during 2020-21 where there will be a phased increase to capacity at 160,” the trust said.

A planning application for the demolition work has been submitted by the council.