FUNDING of £2.7m has been awarded to a north Durham school for children with special educational needs to allow them to move bigger premises.

Plans are being drawn up to move Hare Law School to the former site of Greencroft Business and Enterprise Community College, at Greencroft, near Stanley.

The money has been available by the Department for Education and plans are being considered by Durham County Council.

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Headteacher Maggie Collins said: “We are all very excited at the prospect of taking our school into a new building.

“Pupils already have lots of creative ideas about what name we will choose and what our uniform will look like.

“Our new building will give us new opportunities to share with the wider community, how much we value the way our pupils learn and grow into strong minded young people who are able to promote and represent themselves in the wider world.”

“We look forward, through community use of our facilities, to sharing our ethos which promotes using positive relationships to achieve potential in a school with a caring and supportive environment which aims to develop individuality, creativity and enthusiasm for life and learning.”

It is hoped work will start on the new site this summer and the target opening date will be early next year.

Hare Law School offers specialist education teaching for children with complex educational needs, including autism, from four to 16 years old.

But the current site has been deemed unsuitable for the school's desire to expand what is currently on offer.

The plan includes the demolition and remodelling of about a third of the old building at Greencroft and the remodelling of the existing structure.

The bigger school has been empty since September when pupils moved into the £30m purpose built North Durham Academy following a merger with Stanley School of Technology in 2011.

Sheila Palmerley, manager for school places and admissions, said: “The new site for Hare Law, situated at the old Greencroft School and less than a mile from the current site, will allow us to address issues such as overcrowding.

“A particular problem has been the space available for student pick up and drop off.

“In the new scheme students will have easier access and a calmer start and end to the day and the exterior areas will be more spacious allowing a greater variety of activities.”