Kirklees Council is launching public consultation over plans to build a new special school on the site of a former community centre in Deighton.

The council wants a new purpose-built school on the site of the demolished Deighton Centre, near the Deighton Sports Arena, off Deighton Road. It will become the new home of the Joseph Norton Academy, which will move from Scissett.

The academy’s current building is out-dated and offers only 63 places. A new school at Deighton, which is also more central for the whole of Kirklees, will have 132 places.

The school caters for children and young people aged between four and 18 who have an Education Health & Care Plan with Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties.

Kirklees Council and Wellspring Academy Trust are working to build the new school and public consultation is taking place with the Deighton community before a planning application is submitted.

The council says pupils benefit from the semi-rural location at Scissett – and there is a school farm – but the buildings are dated and there’s no room for expansion. Many students have to travel some distance to the school. The new school will also allow co-education for a wider age range of pupils.

Before a planning application is made, local residents are being invited to share their views on the project. Public consultation is open from June 12 to July 21.

Members of the public can get involved at or by attending one of the council’s in-person consultation events:

  • Tuesday June 20 – 3pm to 6pm – Chestnut Centre, Deighton, HD2 1HJ
  • Saturday June 24 – 11am onwards – Deighton Carnival, Deighton Sports Fields, HD2 1JP
  • Tuesday June 27 – 5pm to 7pm – Brian Jackson House, Huddersfield, HD1 5JP

David Shepherd, the council’s director for growth and regeneration, said: “This new school would be a huge improvement on the current site.

“Though the Scissett school has brought great benefits to students for years, relocating Joseph Norton Academy to new premises in Deighton would be a fantastic opportunity to bring more benefits to the children and young people of Kirklees.

“We’d be able to offer many more spaces to children with special educational needs, and at a more central location.

“Fewer pupils would have to travel outside Kirklees for their education, supporting not just them but also their families and caregivers.”

In 2021 the council said that it had to send many children outside the district for education. The average placement was £58,000 – costing the council £8 million a year.