AMBITIOUS plans to create a new £8.5m learning village in Quarry Bank - bringing Thorns Community College and Thorns Primary together with Dudley's Old Park Special School have been exclusively revealed to the News this week.

Dudley Council was this week informing parents at all three schools of its plan to provide a new state-of-the-art education centre for up to 1,700 pupils on the massive 23-acre Thorns Road site.

Under the proposal, Russells Hall's outdated Old Park Special School will be transferred to a new, purpose-built, environmentally-friendly building on the Thorns site - alongside the existing Thorns Community College and Thorns Primary.

Councillor Liz Walker, Dudley's cabinet member for children's services, said: "This is a really exciting proposal for all three schools, which will provide all of the children and young people as well as the local community with new learning opportunities and facilities.

"Each school has a tremendous amount of expertise, which could be pooled together to create an environment where that expertise is shared across all three sites."

All three school bosses have welcomed the plan.

David Mountney, Thorns Community College principal, said: "This is something really new for all of us. We're relocating Old Park Special School into a brand new purpose-built building where we can share expertise and all learn to work together."

Thorns Primary headteacher David Priestley added: "It's going to be a real asset to the local neighbourhood. I feel quite privileged to be bringing this opportunity to Quarry Bank."

Similar to Kingswinford's Campus 21 - home to Bromley Hills Primary, Crestwood School and The Brier special school - the project will offer new state-of-the-art equipment and resources, a new multi-use games area, new hydrotherapy pool and new landscaped grounds.

A new access route and drop off point for all three schools will also be created off Thorns Road - along with a wide pedestrian route.

Being funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families and Dudley Council - the project is expected to get underway in around 12 months and is likely to be completed by late 2010.

An informal public consultation for parents, staff, pupils and nearby residents is now underway and will run until January 2008.

The proposals can be viewed at Comments can be posted on the online consultation form or by emailing