A special school’s move to east Reading will cost an extra £600,000 than first anticipated.

Plans are moving forward for the former Phoenix College’s move to the vacant Hamilton Centre on Bulmershe Road.

Now called Hamilton School, it is currently based on Christchurch Road, but planning permission has been granted for the move which will allow it to provide places for girls.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) approved the plans in April, with an estimated cost £8.1 million to build.

But the costs have now gone up to around £8.9 million, due to the chosen contractor’s estimates being higher than anticipated.

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The Department for Education (DfE) had handed out £6.3million in grant funding to the council for the school, with RBC adding £1.8million out of its own capital budget towards the new school.

The DfE’s Special Provisions Fund Grant will pay the extra £600,000 needed to build the school.

Hamilton School is a special needs school specialising in the education of secondary-aged children with Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) issues, and who cannot attend mainstream schools.

The school has been busily changing this year in anticipation of the move, joining the Maiden Erlegh Trust, becoming a special academy and getting a new name – Hamilton School – all within the first month of 2020.

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The vacant Hamilton Centre building, located near to three other schools, will be refurbished and extended to accommodate 64 students and could later be expanded to 90, with female pupils joining the current-all male college.

Some of the Alfred Sutton Playing Fields will be taken up by the new school, although the council says this is “peripheral land not part of the playing pitches or running tracks”.

The current school site, on Christchurch Road, is in poor condition and would have required around £5.4million of repair works to bring it up to a suitable standard, while the DfE considered the buildings unsuitable for an special school regardless of their condition.