Plans to build a new special school in Dorset will go ahead.

The Government gave the green light on Sunday after Dorset Council successfully bid for funding for the new special free school so more children can be educated closer to their homes.

The council says the school will provide ‘much-needed’ places for Dorset children who would otherwise have to travel out of the county for specialist provision.

It is expected that the new school will welcome up to 75 young people aged 14-19 with autism and complex learning difficulties.

Councillor Andrew Parry said: “This is brilliant news. I am proud that after several years of hard work we have managed to secure funding for this new school.

“We want to provide more specialist education provision in Dorset, so our children do not have to travel as far.

“This new school will mean that we can provide excellence in education for more of our young people closer to their homes, their families and their local community. It will improve our children’s lives and help them achieve brilliant futures.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed yesterday that plans for 37 new schools across the country have been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education.

Local authorities were invited to bid for funds and Dorset Council was one of six successful councils in the south west region.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax said: “This is good news for Dorset. I am pleased that more children will be able to attend school closer to their homes. It is very welcome news.”

It has previously been reported the former Osprey Quay school campus on Portland is being considered as the site.

Site owners Aspirations Academies Trust, which runs Atlantic Academy on the island, has agreed to lease the Osprey Quay building to Dorset Council but the trust will not be involved in running the special school.

Dorset Council says it has not yet been decided when the school will open, where it will be built or which academy trust will run it. It will work closely with the Department for Education to bring forward plans for the new school.

Families who could benefit will be asked for their views on the plans. Work to find out which children could attend the new provision has already begun.