The decision to expand a special needs school with an additional 23 spaces has been branded "much needed".

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet members approved £2.23 million funding for the Mabel Prichard Special School in Blackbird Leys at a meeting on Tuesday (March 19).

The school provides education and support for pupils with a range of severe learning difficulties and is co-located with Orchard Meadow Primary School.

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It will get the extra space when the Orchard Meadow Primary School relocates its foundation stage accommodation elsewhere.

Kay Willett MBE, chief executive officer of the Gallery Trust, which manages the school, said: "We are so pleased that this partnership will support the provision of the much needed additional special school places in Oxfordshire.

"We know that this will have a positive impact on many children and young people and their families."

Oxford Mail: Children at the Mabel Prichard Special School.Children at the Mabel Prichard Special School.

The cabinet’s approval is part of wider plans to increase SEND (Special educational needs and disabilities) provision in the county.

This comes following an inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission in July where inspectors identified "widespread and systemic failings" in their September report.

Bloxham Grove Academy has since opened in January and the Department for Education is due to submit a planning application soon for another school in Faringdon. 

A total of £14.4m funding was also approved by the council's cabinet in January for a new SEND school in Didcot.

The Didcot school will be the first of two new special schools planned for the area, which will take the total number of Oxfordshire special schools to 17.