Proposed changes to special schools in Kirklees will be debated next week.

But new figures from Kirklees Council show a very low level of response from people asked to have their say on the sweeping changes.

Out of 2,000 consultation documents sent out by the authority over major changes to the school system, only 70 responded.

Of those who did reply, there was 80% support changes for Longley School and Lydgate School, with the remainder undecided or opposed.

Kirklees Council is looking at making Longley School an autism specialist school, with 80 places for children aged up to 19 from next April.

Lydgate School, at New Mill, would be reserved for 164 pupils with complex needs, and it will move from its current site to the Almondbury Junior School site.

Lydgate School in New Mill.
 

Cabinet members meeting on Tuesday will have to consider the outcome of the consultation and decide whether to move ahead as proposed.

Clr Shabir Pandor, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “We would like to thank everyone who played their part in the consultation and gave us their views about these proposals.

“We are very supportive of special school provision and we want to ensure excellent standards are available to local children.

“Despite our severe cuts in funding from central government, we are continuing to invest in the futures of Kirklees children.

“Working innovatively with our schools, our aim is to give children and young people the best possible educational experience.”

Kirklees says a long-term review of specialist provision has led to the options.

Longley will stop providing places for children with complex needs, but the changes will be phased so no pupils or families are disadvantaged.

Lydgate’s relocation is not expected to take place before 2016 - the junior school is relocating next year to the nearby Almondbury High School campus as part of a merger with Greenside IN and the High School to become Almondbury Community School.

Almondbury High School
Almondbury High School
 

The junior school site will have to be adapted to suit children with special needs, with an opening date expected in 2016.

If Cabinet back the proposals, there needs to be publication of legal notices which includes further public debate.