Special needs provision set to be expanded at schools across Lancashire as county council meets to consider proposals

Several schools across Lancashire are to be expanded as Lancashire County Council plans to meet a rising demand for special school places.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 10:53 am
Updated Thursday, 1st October 2020, 10:56 am

The cabinet of Lancashire County Council meets tonight (Thursday, October 1) to consider proposals to increase the provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEND) and disabilities over the next five years.

The proposals recommend approving the expansion of Sir Tom Finney Community High School, in Ribbleton, Preston, and the relocation and expansion of a specialist school in Oswaldtwistle.

Capacity will also be increased for primary and secondary-aged pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs in Lancaster, Morecambe, Fleetwood and Lytham by a proposal to open the Haven school site in Thornton-Cleveleys, and to increase the capacity at Stepping Stones Short Stay School in Lancaster.

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Proposals to expand facilities at Sir Tom Finney High School could create an extra 100 places for pupils with special educational needs

It is expected that at least another 213 special school places will be needed within the next five years.

The expansion of Sir Tom Finney Community High School would create up to 100 additional places and improve the facilities for pupils. The proposal is to open up the currently unoccupied upper floor of the building.

Once the statutory notices are published, there would be a four-week period for people to give their views on the proposals.

Cabinet will also consider the creation of special educational needs units attached to Barrowford Primary School, Lytham Church of England Primary School, St Leonard’s Voluntary Aided Church of England Primary School and Weeton Primary School.

Weeton Primary School could have a SEND unit attached to it under proposals to be considered by the county council tonight

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “It is really important to the county council that as many children as possible are educated in mainstream schools which are suitable for their needs, as well as ensuring that appropriate sufficient specialist provision is available.

“Detailed consideration has already taken place on these proposals, including a formal consultation and a meeting with parents to consider their views.”

Approving the SEND Sufficiency Strategy, which has received further consultation this year, will also be considered at the meeting.

This strategy aims to ensure that different types of provision are available, and that the right support is provided at the right time.

Barrowford Primary School, near Nelson, could also get a SEND unit

All of these proposals will need to follow statutory processes for making alterations to schools. A modified approach to this process will also be considered.