A NEW education unit for young people with complex needs and disabilities across Dudley has been officially opened.

New life has been breathed into the former Pensnett High School site, in Tiled House Lane, after Pens Meadow Special School recently unveiled its post-16 SEN facility.

The unit, which opened to pupils in September, provides 40 places for young people over the age of 16 with disabilities or complex needs.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood officially opened the new £3 million facility which will provide a personalised curriculum, pastoral care, guidance and support for local young people.

Mike, who met with students, staff and parents before cutting the ribbon, said: “Being a governor at a special school in Dudley borough, this project is very close to my heart, and to be invited to open this new facility in my constituency is an absolute honour.

“There is a real need for this provision and this facility will certainly go a long way to provide the education, support and training that post-16 SEN youngsters need.

“The contractors have done a marvellous job in making old buildings look brand new and the headteacher and staff deserve great praise for the work done so far.”

Marie Hunter, headteacher, said: “The site aims to work in partnership to create an environment where students with complex needs are supported and challenged to achieve their full potential in their adult life.

“Ultimately we want our students to be active participants in school, at home and in the wider community.”

The development was funded using grants from the Education Funding Agency and Dudley Council to redevelop the disused Pensnett Neighbourhood Learning Centre building.

Councillor Ian Cooper, cabinet member for children, said: “Expanding existing provision at Pens Meadow School will give more young people aged 16 plus the opportunity to take up places within the borough when they would previously have had to look elsewhere for suitable provision.

“We want to provide the very best access to education and this new site will help us to do this.”