A SPECIAL educational needs school in Herefordshire could be demolished and a new purpose-built building constructed on its site, according to education leaders.

Westfield School in Leominster is a maintained special school with more than 60 pupils with severe or complex learning difficulties within the age range of two to 19 years.

However, the school building is no longer deemed fit for purpose and there are plans to either improve or rebuild it.

Council officers estimate a new school would cost around £7.5m. However, they will be considering the possibility of closing the sixth form at the site.

Schools capital investment advisor Sue Woodrow told today’s (March 23) children and young people scrutiny committee that the whole site was unsuitable.

“All three of the buildings are not fit for purpose. For example, the corridors in the main building are far too narrow for two wheelchairs to pass,” she said.

“There’s a whole host of suitability issues. It’s an investment in probably new build. It’s a full-scale feasibility into the best option for this school going forward.

“We are talking about a holistic approach, using the best information we have about the numbers of children we need to accommodate and proposing some of the ways we might need to move forward.”

Council officers will be putting forward a feasibility study which will look at the potential for building a new school to cater for either two to 16 or two to 19-year-olds.

“This is so that we can have the information at our fingertips to push forward really quickly to ask for investment.

“We are not here at this moment in time to make the decisions about the sixth form closure.”


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The council will consult this year on the proposal to phase out the Westfield School sixth form starting from September 2022.

However, ward councillor Trish Marsh said she was pleased that a decision to close the sixth form has yet to be made.

“I’m delighted by Sue’s statement that there hasn’t, in effect, been a decision to already get rid of the sixth form,” she said.

Cabinet member Felicity Norman said the council will be looking at what was best for the whole county.

“This would be one part of the county that has been given a slightly different take to the rest of the county where all children come into Hereford.

“We are trying to minimise travel for younger children.

“Our special needs children need the open, new opportunities just as much as mainstream children do.”