A new 120-place school for pupils with special educational needs could be built in Shropshire.

Plans for the new school in Bowbrook, Shrewsbury, are currently being drawn up as Shropshire Council bids for government funding.

The council said the school was much-needed, with 6,112 children identified as having special educational need in the county.

The authority is now asking for a trust to come forward to bid to establish the school as the plans move to the next stage in bidding for funding.

The school will take in 50 pupils in year one. This would increase to 90 in year two and then 120 by year three.

A report to the government from Shropshire Council said: “We have chosen to bid in to this wave in order to establish a new free school that will fit within the local authority’s strategy for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

“Shropshire is a good local authority with a rate of improvement in the top 10 per cent of the country.

“We are committed to developing this free school and believe it is a vital addition to complement the current local education offer.

“On the January 2017 school pupil census, there were 6,112 children in Shropshire identified with special educational needs (SEN), making up 13.9 per cent of the school population.

“This includes 1,577 children with statements or education, health and care plans and 4,535 children receiving SEN support.

“Shropshire’s size and rurality are it’s biggest challenges in terms of provision of specialist services.

“In part a consequence of this geography means a significantly higher than average proportion of children with SEN are being supported within mainstream settings.

“It follows that Shropshire’s mainstream schools are supporting more pupils with highly complex needs than is the case elsewhere and as a result there is a real present need for additional special school capacity.”

The report adds that the new school would free up capacity at other schools.

“We are positive we are already supporting learners either in independent placements, out of county or in mainstream provision that would fill this school freeing up vital provision,” it says.

“Whilst we are positive that we already have the numbers to fill the 120 places proposed, we would not consider doing this at the detriment of students who have successful stable placements, so would propose that the schools is filled to capacity in a staged process over a three year period.

“Whilst we are commissioning this on a solo bid basis, we have consulted with our neighbouring authorities and have determined that a number would be interested in commissioning places should the bid be successful.”

Shropshire currently has the Severndale Specialist Academy in Shrewsbury, which has 315 pupils and satellite bases in Shrewsbury and at Holy Trinity in Oswestry which have a further 158 pupils.