Lancashire County |Council's plea for more funding for hundreds of SEN places

Edwina Grant LCC executive director for education and children's services,
Edwina Grant LCC executive director for education and children's services,
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Education bosses at County Hall are pressing the government for funding to provide hundreds more places for children with complex learning difficulties.with compelt learning difficulties.

They are asking for an extra £3.5m on top of the additional £6.5 million that has already been committed by the county council, to provide much needed provision for children and young people with SEND.

The extra money will be used to provide around 200 extra places across the county to meet the predicted increased future demand for places.

The additional places will offer specialist support and tailored facilities, helping those with complex needs to succeed.

Following talks with young people, parents, carers and schools, two options area at an early stage of consideration where the specialist places could be provided.

One involves providing an extra 100 places at Sir Tom Finney High School in Preston.

The specialist school is housed in part of the former Ribbleton Hall High School building and has been adapted to cater for pupils with special needs.

The other possibility invovles creating an extra 60 places in Burnley.

The bid is only in its early stages but Edwina Grant, the county's executive director for education and children's services, said: "We're pleased to have the opportunity to apply for this extra government funding.

"One of our key responsibilities at the county council is making sure that there are enough school places to meet demand.
""At this early stage we have identified a need to ensure sufficient places at Broadfield Specialist School.(Burnley) The school is outstanding, and the Lancashire ambition is that all our pupils receive this level of education.

"A possible relocation would allow us to increase capacity, but we are at a very early stage as we consider what options are available going forward.

She added: "We also know that we have some spare capacity at Sir Tom Finney Community High School that could be utilised effectively to meet the current and future demand.

"It is important that children with SEND are able to have the most appropriate school place, and this additional investment will help us to achieve this.

"We are facing an increasing demand for places, and the additional funding from government if we are successful and our own financial commitment will help us to be able to offer the best possible educational experience.

"Our commitment to providing the best possible educational experience to all of our young people will always underpin any decision that is taken."