A NEW school dedicated to children with autism could soon open in Alsager.

Cheshire East Council’s cabinet has voted in favour of exploring moves to establish the borough’s first special school dedicated to children with autism.

A study is now being carried out on the former Church Lawton Primary School, which has stood empty since 2009, as a possible site for the new school.

The announcement comes as part of an ongoing review of arrangements for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Currently children with autism can be supported in mainstream settings if they do not have additional learning difficulties.

Those who have autism along with very severe learning difficulties can be educated at Park Lane and Springfield special schools in Macclesfield and Crewe.

However, there are still some young people for whom these options are not appropriate, resulting in a gap in special school provision in the borough.

The ambition is to create an excellent special school that will allow children to remain as close to their family and community as possible.

Clr Hilda Gaddum, cabinet member with responsibility for children and family services, said: “I am extremely pleased that we can move forward and see if it would be possible to set up a special school on the Church Lawton site.

“A dedicated school will mean that children and young people will no longer have to travel, in some cases long distances, to receive the education and care that they require.

“We have always that there has been a gap around the services we are able to provide for children with autistic spectrum condition. This is the first step towards correcting that.”

The cost of refurbishing the Church Lawton building is estimated to be around £1.6m. This will come form the council’s capital programme that has already set money aside for the implementation of the review.