Eastleigh is set to have a new £17.9 million special school by the summer of 2026.

Hampshire County Council has said that the new school, which is still subject to planning permission, will provide places for up to 125 children aged eight to 16.

The government’s Department for Education has appointed Solent Academies Trust to manage the new special school in Boorley Green.

It will be funded through the county council’s children’s services capital programme – it will also be designed and delivered by its property services team.

It is intended for children and young adults with social, emotional and mental health needs.

The council has explained that the government’s current expectation is that every new school will be a free school, known as an academy.

This means that once built, the relevant local council transfers the school site and buildings, on a lease, to an academy sponsor - who will then be responsible for managing the school.

Councillor Steve Forster, Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Like all Local Authorities, we continue to see significant demand for special school places in Hampshire.

“As a result, a growing use of expensive, independent non-maintained settings. It is vital that we continue to expand special school places across the county.

“The plans for a new special free school in Eastleigh are an important part of our wider ongoing investment in specialist education provision and we welcome the appointment of Solent Academies Trust to manage the school.”

Solent Academies Trust currently provides specialist education for pupils aged two to 19 years old across five high-performing special schools, four of which are in Hampshire.

Sharon Burt, Chief Executive Officer of Solent Academies Trust, said: “We are delighted to have approval to lead the new special free school which is greatly needed for pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs to remain educated in local provision.

“We have already started working closely with the local authority and members of the local community and look forward to providing further updates about our exciting plans through our trust website.”