A new special needs school in Twickenham should be fully operational by 2020, Richmond Council has said.

The Auriga Academy Trust school was at risk of not going ahead, despite being approved by the then secretary of state for education in May 2017.

Since then the Education and Skills Funding Agency had been unable to secure a suitable site which could accommodate the whole school.

But at a meeting last night, the council agreed to lease Amyand House, in Amyand Park Road, for the school’s primary phase year-groups, and part of the Richmond Education and Enterprise Campus, in Egerton Road, for its secondary phase, bringing the school to Twickenham.

Cabinet member for children’s services and schools, Councillor Penny Front was delighted to bring Capella House, as the school will be known, to the area.

“There is a growing need and demand for more special school places within the borough," she said.

“It is absolutely vital that we meet a wider range of special educational needs and disabilities locally, so that children and young people can be educated within their local community rather than having to travel further afield – often considerably further – for their schooling

“We already work very closely with the Auriga Academy Trust, who run our two fantastic special schools, Clarendon and Strathmore, and look forward to them making Capella House the outstanding local school that we need.”

The school will provide places for 72 children and aged four to 19.

Capella House will open in September 2019 with a secondary intake, and, subject to planning permission for internal modifications of Amyand House, will admit its first primary intake in September 2020.

John Kipps, CEO of the Auriga Academy Trust, was glad to see the council take on the responsibility.

“I am delighted that Richmond Council have continued to support us by finding suitable sites for Capella House," he said.

"Opening this new special school will enable the Auriga Academy Trust to further expand the local provision of special school places for Richmond, enabling us to help keep these vulnerable children and young people in their home community.”