A SPECIALIST base for youngsters with special educational needs is set to become a permanent fixture at a Brierley Hill primary school as part of a programme to boost SEND provision across the borough.

The unit at Hawbush Primary School in Brierley Hill caters for up to eight children with social, emotional and mental health needs and has been in operation since January, but council bosses have now confirmed the facility will be in place permanently.

Post-16 education is also set to be implemented at Halesbury School in Halesowen when four pupils aged over 16 with autism will join the roll at the special school from September 2020.

It is hoped numbers will increase in future years if it proves successful.

Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "As part of our new wider inclusion strategy, Dudley Council is committed to improving outcomes for all pupils.

"We have seen a sustained increase in the borough in recent years in the need for specialist educational provision for young people with special educational needs.

"This will allow pupils to be taught in dedicated units by specialist staff and, in the case of Hawbush, allow opportunities to integrate into mainstream classes where appropriate.

"Both schools have extensive experience in meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs. It will prevent pupils from having to travel long distances to get to schools outside the borough, which is what is happening in some cases currently."