Cornwall is to get a new school for children with special educational needs - and it could be open within two years.

Cornwall Council has been successful in its bid to the Department for Education, to set up a special school with places for 65 children aged from five to 16 years. The aim is to create a centre of excellence for pupils with social emotional and mental health needs and education, health and care plans.

A site in the Bodmin area has been identified, subject to planning permission, as the preferred location due to its proximity to the A30.

Welcoming the news Sally Hawken, portfolio holder and cabinet member for children and wellbeing, said: “This school will provide much-needed support and provision to some of the most vulnerable children in Cornwall.

“In preparing for this bid we consulted with families, school and education colleagues, and our partners in health and social care identifying the benefits a school like this could bring. It is thanks to their continued support and input that this bid has been successful.”

Social, emotional and mental health needs are a type of special educational needs in which young people have significant difficulties in managing their emotions and behaviour, which can make it difficult for them to integrate into mainstream school settings.

Sally added: “Cornwall is geographically challenging and families who need this special provision can often find themselves travelling long distances to get the right kind of support. This new building will enable us to fill a gap in our current services - which will be a huge benefit to children and their families in Cornwall.”

Cornwall Council will now publicise plans for the proposed new school and work with a range of different organisations who may be interested in running the school. Organisations will have until September 2019 to submit their applications to the Department for Education and it is hoped that the school may open in September 2021.

The announcement is part of a government push to create 39 new special free schools across the UK.