A £1.2M learning centre for music, dance and IT is planned for Hartlepool.

The City Learning Centre at Dyke House Secondary School will benefit all 11 to 16-year-olds in the town, who will be able to use its facilities.

Hartlepool Borough Council is due to decide on planning permission for the £1.2m centre, which could open by next September.

The centre is part of a national Excellence in Cities programme, which aims to improve opportunities for secondary school children in urban areas.

Nick Flight, assistant director of education in Hartlepool, said: "The City Learning Centre is a really exciting new development for the whole town that will bring a lot of new opportunities and significant extra funding."

The council is planning a variety of other projects under the Excellence in Cities programme.

These include initiatives for the most talented children in the borough, as well as those who need special help, and creating specialist colleges in schools in the area.

Excellence in Cities will last until March 2004 and an extra £3.72m will be pumped into the town's education system in the first two years.