Hereford & Worcester

Herefordshire special schools will be improved

Two schools for pupils with special needs in Herefordshire will receive £4.7m to improve their buildings.

Herefordshire Council has decided to use a grant from the government for capital projects at two schools.

The plans will fund an extension and remodelling of Blackmarston Special School in Hereford.

They will also replace a temporary Language and Communication Centre at Hampton Dene Primary School with a permanent building.

After the Building Schools for the Future programme was aborted by the government, local authorities were given a capital grant to spend on improving buildings for 14 to 19-year-olds and for children with special educational needs.

In Herefordshire, this amounted to £7.34m.

Following consultation with schools and colleges, it was agreed that Blackmarston Special School and Hampton Dene Primary School were a priority and should go ahead as soon as possible.

The investment at Blackmarston School will extend the school's accommodation so that it can meet a "growing increase" in demand for specialist provision for children with complex needs, largely in the South Wye area.

It is anticipated that the extended facilities will increase the number of pupil places available from 60 to 80.

'Very poor condition'

The county's Language and Communication Centre based at Hampton Dene Primary School, in Tupsley, caters for about 20 children with very specific needs that the council said could not be met well elsewhere.

A council spokesman said the current accommodation was in "very poor" condition and needed to be replaced.

Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for education, said: "The number of children with special educational needs is growing and we need to make sure we are able to meet this demand.

"In Herefordshire our mainstream schools are fully inclusive, but some children need specialist support only available at dedicated schools or centres."

The two schools will receive funding of £4.75m each.

In addition a sum of £1m has been earmarked for new facilities at Leominster Primary School and £1.25m has been allocated to Barrs Court Sixth Form and Adult Social Care hub.

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