A "SMALL but beautiful" Oldham school for children with autism is being forced to re-located after their building was put up for sale.

Bright Futures School is having leave its current venue in Oldham Road, Grasscroft, after its owners put it on the market.

But while they say the sale announcement came as "a bit of a surprise" they are now planning to use it as an opportunity to expand.

They are appealing for the public's help to find new premises but, building on their current ability to accommodate nine pupils, they are looking for somewhere to increase that to 20, along with their 16 staff.

Pupils, parents and staff are already looking out for potential premises.

Despite plans to grow they say they still want to retain the "homely feel" so popular with everyone connected to the school.

Zoe Thompson, school proprietor and head of development at Bright Futures, said: "We always knew that our school's current home would be sold sooner or later. However, the recent news that the landlords are putting the house on the market now, has come as a bit of a surprise.

"Luckily though, we had already been updating the school's business plan to address insecurity of tenure and to raise staff wages and our ambition is to expand the school by increasing the number of places.

"So, we are treating what could be viewed as a threat as an opportunity."

The new property needs to have at least 10 study/work areas (larger rooms can be partitioned) and at least three toilets and a kitchen.

They also need plenty of outside space for students' taxis to pick up and drop off and additional parking for up to 10 staff cars.

Gardens for both pupils and staff are also desirable.

Zoe added: "We have a good idea of what we need to replace our current building and we hope to buy either a commercial or residential property, ideally in Saddleworth but given Saddleworth prices, we are also looking at Mossley, Marsden, Shaw or Slaithwaite and we would love to hear from local people who might be able to help us find what we need.

"The new school building needs to be situated where our traffic won't bother any neighbours and where taxis can safely drop pupils off and pick them up. We also need to be mindful of the potential re-sale value of any building and we need to be able to move in without doing any major work to the property.

"Price-wise, we are looking at properties in the region of £600K, and we are keen to have conversations with anyone who might be interested in helping us, in any way, whether that's donating time or expertise.

"We are a small, but beautiful, school with a focus on excellent quality provision. We also employ 16 local people and our pupils with autism are happy and thriving – both academically and socially."

An Ofsted inspection in November last year rated Bright Futures as "good", saying pupils' behaviour was outstanding,

and parents are delighted by the progress their children make.

One parent noted that her child had made so much progress since starting at the school that he is "unrecognisable".

and they were credited with making positive differences in their pupil's family lives.

The school began life at its current home in 2010 with just one pupil and now has a waiting list.

Anyone who can help out with their move can contact Zoe on 01457 878738 or email info@brightfuturesautism.com.