Councillors have backed plans to invest £1.51 million in three special schools in the west of the county.

Increasing demand for places in special schools mean that existing special schools are full.

And now council officers have identified three schools where investment is needed to maintain existing places or could be used to create additional ones.

Those schools are Breakspeare Community Special School, in Abbots Langley, Falconer Community Special School, in Bushey, and The Collett Foundation Special School, in Hemel Hempstead.

And on Wednesday (December 11) the plans were backed by a meeting of the county council’s education. libraries and cabinet panel.

However they will still need the go-ahead from a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday (December 16) before they can be implemented.

As part of the plan, an existing temporary ‘mobile’ building at Breakspeare Community Special School – which lacks appropriate changing and hygiene facilities – will be replaced, at a cost of £740,000.

This – it was reported to councillors – would enable the school to offer an additional eight places.

But if the project was not to go ahead the 88-pupil school would need to reduce the number of places it offers.

At Falconer Community Special School the £250,000 plans will include improved dining facilities and additional teaching spaces.

And, as a result, the school will be able to offer seven additional places.

Meanwhile at The Collett Foundation Special School there are £520,000 plans to replace two temporary classrooms – which are said to be in poor condition and lack adequate changing and hygiene facilities.

The planned replacement building would be permanent, larger and fully accessible.

And it is said the improved accommodation would improve the teaching, learning and care environment for pupils.

If The Collett project were not to go ahead – and the school could no longer use the temporary classrooms – the 128-pupil school would need to reduce the number of places it offers.

At the meeting of the cabinet panel councillors unanimously backed the proposals.

Pointing the the planned growth of housing and employment across Hertfordshire, Conservative Cllr Richard Thake (Knebworth and Codicote) suggested the work should be completed to enable further expansion at a later date.

Chairman executive member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris said the question of special school provision was very much at the forefront of their thoughts.

And he stressed that the discussion for the meeting was focused on the particular projects for the three school.

If the proposals are backed by a meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Monday (December 16), the work on the schools is expected to be completed by September 2020.