Construction firm Beard has begun building a new specialist primary school for deaf children.
The work follows more than three years of fundraising by the school to bring the vision to life.
Mary Hare Primary School will be based on the same site as the secondary school in Newbury, Berkshire.
The new school will include its own entrance and parking, fully accessible purpose-built classrooms, an Art/DT room, a music room, a gymnasium, a dedicated audiology room and light, modern boarding facilities.
All classrooms will be acoustically treated to optimise listening conditions, and pupils will benefit from open space, a secure internal courtyard, a bike trail and private woods where they will be able to enjoy activities such as campfires, nature walks and educational activities.
Jamie Harwood, director at Beard in Swindon, said: “As a constructor with specialist expertise in the education sector, we are very aware of the importance of creating spaces which are inspiring places to learn for the pupils, and as places of work for the teachers and staff.
“We’re very much looking forward to bringing the fantastic vision for Mary Hare Primary School to life, in order to provide a vital national resource and centre for teaching deaf children.”
As a specialist primary school for deaf children, taking pupils from all over the UK, Mary Hare Primary will continue to offer a small, nurturing environment for its pupils to learn and thrive in whilst giving them a new school designed to challenge their learning, build their confidence and develop their communication skills through speaking and listening.
Head teacher Robert Rattray said: “We are delighted that the work has now begun. This is so much more than just a building project. The new school will ensure we can continue to secure the education of deaf primary pupils well into the future.
"I want to thank everyone who has supported our appeal to raise the funds for this project so far – and to encourage anyone who would still like to make a donation towards our new school to visit our website.”
The demand for a specialist learning environment for deaf pupils is increasing as families consider the issues of friendships, academic opportunities and general inclusion for their deaf child.
Building work is due to finish in time for the school to open and welcome pupils in the autumn of 2022.