A major school rebuilding scheme is being proposed for Thornbury.

Plans are on the drawing board for two new developments on the site of the current Gillingstool School.

The primary school, one of the oldest in the town, is to get new buildings and will also share the site with a new special school.

The scheme is part of a plan - total cost around £12.5million - to improve special school provision in the district by redeveloping and enlarging the current New Siblands School on split site basis.

Under the plan, the current New Siblands site in Easton Hill Road would be retained and would become a special secondary school with primary age children transferring to the new school at Gillingstool where an all weather sport pitch would also be provided.

Subject to approval, work on new developments at Gillingstool could get underway in August next year and be completed by the following summer.

South Gloucestershire councillors are being urged to give the green light for the "two into one" scheme on cost saving grounds because both schools would be built as part of the same contact.

Members of the council's ruling Cabinet heard this week that the new special school could be financed by "prudential borrowing" - a funding arrangement calculated to save council tax payers £6.6million over 25 years.

Councillors have known for some time that the need for more special school places - particularly for children with severe learning difficulties - is becoming critical.

A new £10million school for children with Behavioural, Emotional and Social and Difficulties (BESD) is also a council priority but no site has been identified.

Two years ago there was concern among some New Siblands parents when the council unveiled controversial plans - now shelved - for the school to leave Thornbury and move to the district's "north fringe" as part of a shake up in special education provision.

Cllr Sheila Cook executive member for Children and Young People said: "We were unable to find a suitable so we have reverted to a split site scheme in Thornbury.

"It will be good for Thornbury because it will mean that the traditionally close links between New Siblands and the other schools in the town are retained. There have been no adverse comments."

Gillingstool head teacher Clive Riches said: "We are very excited about it. This is a big site and the twin development means more for the same money. However, the two schools will be separate establishments. Gillingstool is not becoming a special school and New Siblands is not going mainstream."

He said the school's historic Victorian buildings would be retained with one of them becoming a new drop in centre under the Sure Start scheme.