A TRAINING centre in Bournemouth could be converted into a special school under plans outlined in BCP Council’s new two-year funding strategy.

At last week’s meeting of its cabinet, councillors gave their backing to a new “capital strategy” for the area’s education provision.

It includes the potential conversion of Bournemouth Learning Centre back into a school while also spending about half a million pounds increasing the capacity at St Aldhelm’s Academy.

The council has just under £4 million of ring-fenced funding available for investments in schools and other educational facilities.

A report published ahead of last week’s meeting outlined priority schools where investment was needed to increase capacity.

This includes between £460,000 and £610,000 to “urgently” increase its capacity to 180 students per year group.

This will fund two phases of work, an initial remodelling of the existing buildings, which will be completed by September, and the future construction of a new four-classroom block.

Council leader Vikki Slade said she was “delighted” to see that after “a very, very rocky journey” the school was now in a position where it was needing to increase its capacity.

On top of this, £100,000 is allocated for a feasibility study looking at the potential for a new primary school to cater for new housing developments on the northern edge of Poole.

Further £100,000 sums have been set aside to look at how the size of Winchelsea and Linwood schools can be increased.

Cllr Slade said this was “investment in our children’s futures” and said improving educational facilities was the best way to do this.

Outside of this funding, the strategy also looks at a number of projects which are identified as potentially being required in the future.

These are the conversion of Bournemouth Learning Centre into a special school and the need for future further investment in Hillbourne and Winchelsea schools.

The council’s cabinet member for finance, councillor David Brown, welcomed the availability of funding to spend on schools.

“There are a lot of pressures competing for our capital funding, particularly after years of austerity, and there’s a great deal of difficulty in raising these sorts of funds,” he said.

“It’s great to see that we can kick some of these off and move them forward and I think we will need a lot of determination over the coming years to do what we can to find funding to improve education provision for our children.”