A SPECIALIST free school for young people who find it difficult to cope in mainstream education has unveiled new buildings and increased capacity from 30 to 50.

Eaglewood School in New Milton opened in 2016 to ease pressure on services in the New Forest and East Dorset areas.

It took over a site previously occupied by the Phoenix Youth Centre and it has now been re-designed to include new classrooms, a gym, playground facilitates, advanced ICT and food technology suites as well as a fitted kitchen, laundry and shower rooms.

The new multi-million pound facility is further good news for the school, which recently received a rating of Good from government inspection body Ofsted.

Head teacher Nigel Himmel said: "This academic year has seen Eaglewood start in its strongest position since we were formed.

"Our new building gives us the space and facilities we so desperately needed as well as allowing us to increase capacity, allowing us to help even more of the most vulnerable students in our community.

"We’ve also had our first, and very successful Ofsted inspection, which rated us Good in all four areas and praised the care we provide our pupils and their families.

"The inspectors made special mention of our dedicated staff who are making significant improvements to children’s lives.

"This is something we are not only very proud of but also runs through everything we do at Eaglewood School."

Since opening, Eaglewood has successfully reintegrated 40 per cent of its students into mainstream education, helped 30 per cent into more specialist provision and found post-16 provision for a further 25 per cent.

The school’s attendance rate is also more than 80 per cent, nearly a quarter higher than the national average for alternative provision providers.

The Ofsted inspectors also praised the school for good teaching that enables pupils to progress in their social and emotional development, passionate leaders who place pupils’ needs at the centre of all that happens at school and a curriculum that matches the needs of the children.

Mr Himmel added: "The youth centre that was once here was closed due to public funding cuts and remained empty before we arrived.

"It’s wonderful that the site has been resurrected and will still be used to support the area’s young people."