First turf turned on new school build

Work starts on the building of the Bowman Academy special school

Five men and women at a building site wearing hard hats and hi-vis vests. Orange digger in the background

Work has begun on the building a new special school in Leicestershire. 

Bowman Academy will provide support for up to 65 pupils aged five to 16 with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. 

Based at the former site of St Botolph’s Primary School in Shepshed, facilities will include a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and a variety of classrooms, including science and art studios. 

It will also feature a music room, a sensory / immersion room and a quiet, calming room, as well as an outdoor dedicated outdoor learning area and a car park and drop-off points. 

The sustainably built school is being constructed by contractors Bowmer + Kirkland for the Department for Education and will be run by the Community Inclusive Trust (CIT), which heads up several schools including Foxfields Academy, a specialist SEMH school in Blaby. 


It’s exciting seeing work starting on the build and we look forward to seeing it taking shape. 

“This is an important part of a wider programme to ensure provision is available to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the county, as close to their homes as possible. 

“This includes both the building of special schools and creating provision in mainstream schools.


“We are excited to be breaking ground here today, marking the commencement of this new state of the art build. 

“SEMH is a unique sector of education and requires dedicated, specialist support. Bowman Academy will provide much-needed places for children in Shepshed and the surrounding area.”


 A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are delighted to see that work has started on the Bowman Academy, which will provide state-of-the-art facilities, delivering on the department’s Improvement Plan to reform the support system for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

“Every child deserves to have access to education that meets their needs, which is why we will continue to announce further special free schools.”

A spokesperson for Bowmer + Kirkland added: “This is our tenth year of working for the DfE and we are delighted to be starting construction of the Bowman Academy, which will provide a sustainable and modern environment conducive to learning and developing the students of the academy.”

The school is being built using more sustainable methods, where ‘modules’ are constructed off-site and then assembled and installed on-site. This reduces waste, means less transportation is needed and uses renewable materials. 

Bowman Academy is due to open in September 2024. There are also plans to build a 90-place school for children with special needs and disabilities in Quorn after the Department for Education approved the county council’s funding via its Special Free School Programme earlier this year.


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