Butterstone pupils could return to the special school’s Dunkeld site this year after an alternative education company emerged with a proposal to run services there.
Parents, pupils and staff at the now-closed New School at Butterstone reacted with delight as Moore House Care and Education began the registration process.
Moore House intends to use the buildings and other facilities already in place.
It is understood many of the former school’s staff have also been invited to apply for positions at the new institution.
The New School at Butterstone shut in November last year after financial problems and a row with statutory bodies over how children were protected from harm.
Anne Gibson, chief executive officer for Moore House Care and Education, said: “We are looking to go ahead, but we are at the very early stages of the process and wouldn’t like to comment further at this stage.”
It is thought the full registration process could take several months.
Moore House Care and Education offers residential childcare and teaching for secondary school age pupils, who have additional support needs because of social, emotional and behavioural challenges.
The company is Bathgate-based, but also operates services at Livingston and Saline, near Dunfermline.
The news comes as parents launched a new petition calling for the school to be re-opened and expressing support for the staff who had worked there.
Susan Briggs, who co-chairs the Butterstone Parents Group, said: “There are a lot of issues to tackle still, but we are very hopeful that we are going to get a replacement school on the site.
“The families are all absolutely delighted and we are very, very positive about this. Not only could the children return to a familiar and suitable environment, but many of the staff have been invited to apply for positions.”
Green MSP Mark Ruskell challenged the first minister on the 18 children from the school who are still without educational provision during First Minister’s Questions last week.
He said: “This move has thrown a lifeline to families who have faced months of uncertainty while their children have been excluded from education.”
Prior to Moore House stepping forward, families had been given three options: register their children with Perth and Kinross Council, which plans to temporarily open the mothballed primary school at Forteviot; make an application to another independent school; or home school their children.
The families say safety concerns and the Forteviot plan’s temporary nature makes it “entirely unsuitable” for their children.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Education Secretary has agreed to meet representatives of the New School Butterstone site and Moore House this week and will listen to options for re-establishing a school on the site.”