A SCHOOL in Halesowen has taken its first steps towards the construction of a new £3m extension.

Dudley Council’s cabinet member for education, Cllr Ruth Buttery, has given the green light in principle for work at Halesbury Special School in Feldon Lane.

The school is one of six special schools run by the council and provides education for 165 young people with complex needs and physical disabilities.

Built in 1958, the school is one of three borough special schools currently operating significantly above its design capacity and coping with the increased complexity of the needs of its students.

The planned extension work at the school will provide upgraded accommodation for the existing number of students plus eight extra places for youngsters aged between four and 19 with complex communication and interaction needs, which means they are considered hard to place.

Comments in a report on the decision to carry out extension work say: “Forecasts show that it is unlikely that there will be any reduction in place need across the commissioned Dudley estate for at least the next five years.

“If as an LA we are to begin reducing our reliance on out of borough/independent schools, then our commissioned estate will need to have sufficient capacity and appropriate environment.”

The demands on the school were recognised during its Ofsted inspection in October 2023 when it was given a 'Requires Improvement' rating.

Inspectors said: “Care and warmth lie at the heart of Halesbury School.

"Pupils are welcomed and valued.  “The school wants the best for its pupils. However, further work remains to be done to ensure that all pupils get the most from their time here. 

“This is a time of change at Halesbury. Pupils with an increasingly broad range of complex needs are starting their educational journeys here. 

“Consequently, the school has had to reconsider what some pupils need to learn, in what order and how they learn best. 

“These changes are happening, but most are still in the early stages of development.”

If planning permission for the project is granted as forecast Dudley Council expects work at Halesbury to be completed in December 2025.