THE county's newest school is to be permanently based in Hereford.

The Robert Owen Vocational School, which has been temporarily sited at the former Holme Lacy Primary School since last September, will now move to old Hereford High School for Boys site in Blackfriars Street.

It was the first 14 to 19 school to open in the county under the Government's free school programme, offering a broad vocational curriculum alongside core GCSE qualifications and work experience before students then move on to a chosen specialism.

Construction company Mace has been appointed to oversee the building work, with plans to open the school in September.

"It is brilliant news to have a central site in the city," said Chris Morgan, secretary of the Robert Owen Academy Trust.

"The world is changing and youngsters are planning other routes to get into employment," which modern apprenticeships offer.

"The school also serves surrounding counties, but Hereford will the hub.

"I think that it will be a significant part of the city's regeneration because it will a high-quality vocational establishment built in the middle of the city.

"It's a win-win situation for Hereford and I think a legacy will be left."

Chris said that around 220 businesses and voluntary organisations are currently involved in the project and there are plans to accommodate 500 students by 2018.

He added that the old Edwardian part of the site will be retained and refurbished internally, but the old huts will be knocked down.

"It is a community-owned facility and we want to retain the site for educational use and support it for the next 50 to 100 years," said Chris.

"We are very keen that the site is developed for community use and not just for the school."

For more information about the school and how to apply for a place for a child who is entering year 10, call 01568 615510 or visit