Proposed changes to four schools have been backed.

Kirklees Cabinet supported proposals to make Longley School an autism specialist school, with 80 places for children aged up to 19 from next April.

Lydgate School, at New Mill, will be reserved for 164 pupils with complex needs, and will move to the Almondbury Junior School.

But both changes now need to go through a formal legal process, with a final Cabinet sign off later this year.

While Beech Infant and Nursery School will merge with Royds Hall Community School, but will remain at its current Golcar site.

Speaking about the changes to special schools, Clr Shabir Pandor, Cabinet member for schools, said: “We need to hold a statutory consultation and a decision will come back here to be made in November or December.”

However, 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. The junior school site will have to be adapted to suit children with special needs.

Lydgate School in New Mill.
 

Where the Beech IN and Royds Hall school merger is concerned, Clr Andrew Marchington told his colleagues in Cabinet that the merger provided an opportunity for both schools to learn.

The Golcar Lib Dem said: “I am highly critical of both Ofsted and the Department for Education for the position we are in.

“Progress had been made before the last inspection and the SATS results for this school this summer showed all children achieved above the national average, which is just amazing.

“Staff and pupils have put their hearts and souls into this, and while I am happy with what we are doing, I don’t think we should have been put in this position.”

Beech School’s Ofsted report, graded Inadequate, led to the changes happening quicker.

Clr David Sheard, council leader, said Beech’s improvement had come “in spite of Ofsted rather than because of it”.