YOUNG people with disabilities will be able to stay in education for longer in the county thanks to plans for a new £3.7 million facility.

Gloucestershire County Council has announced that it is proposing to build a new post-16 college for young people with disabilities.

The authority said it does not have a site yet but hopes to have the facility up and running by September 2014.

At the moment young people aged between 16 and 19 with disabilities wanting access to education and training have to go to specialist, residential facilities usually outside of the county - but paid for by the county council.

The new specialist post-16 college would provide living accommodation giving students the specialist support they need to prepare them to live independently and to move into mainstream further education.

Gloucestershire County Council has also announced its intention to fund a £395,000 specialist teaching unit at Milestone School in Gloucester.

This unit will be for children up to the age of 16 with complex educational needs who currently have to be educated outside the county.

To ensure there is no gap in education for pupils leaving the unit at 16 the county council is currently refurbishing buildings at the former Bishop’s College site, also in Gloucester, to provide a temporary post-16 college from September.

Cllr Jackie Hall, cabinet member for educations and skills, said: "The post-16 college and the new unit at Milestone School will mean that some of our most vulnerable young people can be educated closer to their families and friends.

"There will also be support in place to help these young people learn to live independently and move on to further training or into employment if that is what they want.

"As well as benefiting young people with disabilities, these plans will also deliver longer term savings for the county council as we will no longer need to fund expensive specialist, residential places outside the county."