A NEW school in Bradford for children with social, emotional and mental health needs could have facilities like a garden centre, forest school and farm, a committee has been told.

Earlier this summer Bradford Council secured funding for a new school for 72 ten to 19-year-olds, with the plan for it to be built on the Rhodesway Playing Fields in Lower Grange, and be up and running by September 2020.

The school will be a free school, and funding will come from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Because government policy prevents Councils from running new schools, the authority is in the process of finding a sponsor for the school. Applications from sponsors will be assessed by Council officers in the next few weeks.

The Council's Children's Services Scrutiny Committee heard an update on the plans for the school at a meeting this evening.

Currently 44 young people with SEMH needs receive education outside of the Bradford area. It is hoped that the new facility will mean these young people can remain in Bradford.

To get approval for the school, the Council had to promote the school as a "regional" hub, that other councils would have access too. Around 50 places at the school would be filled by Bradford children, and neighbouring councils of Kirklees and Calderdale have shown an interest in using some of the spaces.

Angela Spencer-Brooke, SEND and Behaviour. Strategic Manager told the meeting: "We have had a number of events to attract sponsors to Bradford and we hope to assess some applications next week.

"It is a very exciting vision we have. It will ensure children and young people in the district with more complex needs can stay in Bradford and be supported in Bradford - closer to their families and communities. I look forward to reporting some progress soon.

"It is a big site. There will be residential units for 12 to 16 children on site, a forest school, a farm - we hope to keep animals on the site. It would be really nice for the residential facilities to have a house dog.

"We'd also like to have some employment for the young people on site - maybe a cafe or garden centre. This is very exciting for Bradford."

Claire Parr - representative from the Roman Catholic Church on the committee, said: "This is an extremely exciting opportunity. It will be a fantastic facility for Bradford and its young people."