Rising numbers of young children with special educational needs in Herefordshire have prompted the creation of a new base for them as part of a mainstream primary school.

Hampton Dene Primary School in Hereford has been approved by Herefordshire Council to host an “early years assessment base” for children with complex learning difficulties, supplementing work at the county’s two special schools, Westfield in Leominster and Blackmarston in Hereford.

“Demand continues to increase and additional capacity is urgently required,” with 150 extra specialist places likely to be needed over the next four years, the council said in its decision notice.


The number of early years children in Herefordshire with education, health and care (EHC) plans to provide them with specialist support trebled between 2010 and 2022, it added.

With both Westfield and Blackmarston now closed to new early years admissions for the academic year starting next month, a “significant expansion” is needed right away, with increasing demand “likely to continue for the foreseeable future”, the council said.

The Hampton Dene proposal would enable specialist staff to provide outreach support in other mainstream schools, while enabling mainstream teachers “to upskill themselves to meet the widest possible range of needs in their own schools”, it added.


The council said a public consultation on the plan earlier this summer “received no responses”.

This foresaw using existing rooms recently used as a nursery at Widemarsh Children’s Centre, two miles from the primary school, for the purpose. Modifying these for children with complex learning needs would entail “no or minimal expenditure”, the consultation said.

A council spokesperson confirmed that the new unit will indeed be at Widemarsh Children’s Centre, “and will be a satellite provision as part of the Hampton Dene school”.

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Meanwhile work to make two other mainstream schools more accessible for those with learning difficulties has also been approved.

Work to adapt St Paul’s Primary School in Hereford, valued at up to £61,000, and at Withington Primary School, worth up to £45,000, “will benefit all children with special educational needs or disabilities who attend the school in the future”, the council said.

Separately, structural work on external walls at Clifford Primary School near Hay-on-Wye, valued at up to £82,000, and on walls at Wellington Primary School, Credenhill near Hereford, worth up to £65,000, have also been approved.

All four contracts were awarded to building firm SC Joseph, based near Hereford, following competitive tenders.