A SCHOOL has received cash to help its bid for specialist status.

Villa Real Special School, near Consett, was awarded £1,000 by the Northern Region of the British Amusement Catering Trades Association.

Deputy headteacher Gill Stringer received the money from David Robinson, of the In-Store Group, and Andrew Robinson, from World of Rides, both of Chester-le-Street.

Parents and teachers are fundraising to reach their target of £20,000.

Once they reach it, the Government will award £100,000 and provide £60,000-a-year for four years to help develop the school's work with young people who experience severe learning difficulties.

Mr Robinson said: "Villa Real School is one of only a handful of special needs schools that are equipped to cope with children and young people with severe learning difficulties from around the country.

"So specialised are their facilities and trained staff that they are presently teaching pupils sent to them from as far away as Essex.

"As soon as we heard about their worthwhile endeavours our members were only too delighted to be able to be of assistance."