A NEW school for up to 80 students with special educational needs could be built in Taunton on the site of another school that closed more than seven years ago.

The expansion of Selworthy School onto part of the former St Augustine of Canterbury School could take its first young people within two years and would cost £9 million to build.

It would cater for secondary age and post-16 students, while primary age pupils would continue to be educated at the existing site in Selworthy Road.

It would allow Selworthy to take a total of up to 150 students aged four to 19 across the two sites, about double its current roll number.

A public consultation on the project at St Augustine's - which is half a mile from the current Selworthy School - got underway this week.

A joint statement issued by Somerset County Council and Selworthy School said: "There is growing local need for school places for children with special educational needs and the intention is to meet this by expanding Selworthy School onto the St Augustine site.

"This would create between 60 and 80 much-needed new spaces, and the school would be split over two sites with the new building being home to secondary age children and the current Selworthy site the primary aged children.

"Parents and staff have been involved in early design discussions and a final design is due to enter the planning process at the end of this year or early next.

"We welcome people’s views and the wider public can give their feedback through an online consultation which is available through the school’s website and runs until November 10.

"The local authority is committed to giving children the best start in life and is working closely with Selworthy School on this exciting project."

A bid to create a free school funded by the Government giving more control over how the new school is run was unsuccessful, leading to the county proposing the expansion.

In a letter to parents and carers, County Hall service manager Phil Curd says a decision on the proposals will be made within two months of the consultation ending.

If the scheme gets the go ahead, the new facility could open in September 2019.