WORK has started on building a new school for children with special educational needs.

The relocation and expansion of Lexden Springs School is well underway.

County Hall education bosses want to move Lexden Springs from its current home, in Halstead Road, Lexden, to a new state-of-the-art campus on the former Heath School site, in Winstree Road, Stanway.

The proposals will increase the school’s capacity from 120 pupils to 200.

Some 30 boarding places would also be created.

To make room, the existing buildings on the former Heath School site is being demolished and work on this has now officially started.

Strutt and Parker, which is leading on the development, sent a letter to the county council this week.

It said: “Development commenced at the site on June 11.

“This commencement respects the current construction programme that seeks to deliver the new Lexden Springs SEN School for 2019.”

The school will include a soft outdoor play area, multi-use games area, and new access.

n Work on the actual school building will start on July 2 and will take up until September 2019.

n A hydrotherapy pool will also be built from July 16, with work on the ground floor of the school starting in December.

n Most of the work is likely to be completed by spring next year.

The school will have two separate entrances, with one specifically designed for use by minibuses and taxis to drop off and collect pupils.

The plans are part of the county council’s aim to spend up to £115 million on creating more than 400 new special school places across Essex.

The record investment, which includes £42 million from the Essex Schools Forum, comes after an increase in the number of youngsters in the county being diagnosed with autism.

It also comes amid a growing demand for special school places.

A council report said: “The development has been particularly carefully considered in terms of highway impacts.

“The landscaping and design of the site has been proposed taking account of the particular needs of the SEND school.”