A Hereford primary school is to get £2.4 million to extend a unique yet “over-capacity” centre for pupils with special needs.

The plan to extend the Language and Communication Centre (LCC) at Hampton Dene Primary School, Tupsley, will go before a Herefordshire Council cabinet meeting next Thursday (September 28) for approval.

The centre caters for children both with speech, language and communication needs, and those with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), with 16 places intended for each.


According to a report for the meeting by the council’s head of educational development Quentin Mee, the unit has been full since 2018 yet has continued to admit children, taking it now to 50 per cent above its intended capacity.

His report explains that the number of children with specialist care plans “has been increasing over the past five years and is expected to continue into the future”, adding that children with ASDs “has been identified as the highest need in Herefordshire”.

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The council’s obligation to cater for this rising demand has led to it setting up four “autism hubs” in other mainstream schools as well as the proposed expansion at Hampton Dene – in order, the report says, to “to limit the number of pupils having to attend schools either out of county and/or in the independent sector, which comes at a significant cost to the council”.


The planned LCC expansion will consist of two new classrooms, a meeting room, toilets and outdoor space, to accommodate 16 more learners.

The cost will largely be met out of “ad hoc” Government grants for special needs facilities for schools, which for Herefordshire stand at just under £4 million, and which the council is not required to match-fund.

The new extension “will be one of a number of projects that will come forward in order to fully utilise the grant funding”, Mr Mee’s report added.

The school will contribute £150,000 to the extension and will be responsible for its ongoing running costs.

Some preparatory work is budgeted for this financial year but the whole of the cost is forecast to be spent by April 2025. The proposal must first gain planning consent.