Cabinet has considered the provision of more places for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lancashire County Council's cabinet has agreed a number of proposals to increase the provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities over the next five years.

At the meeting held today (Thursday 1 October), Cabinet agreed to approve the publication of statutory notices for the expansion of Sir Tom Finney Community High School, and the relocation and expansion of Broadfield Specialist School. This proposal followed a consultation with young people with special educational needs (SEND), their parents, carers and professionals.

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

The relocation of Broadfield Specialist School in Oswaldtwistle to the site of the former Hameldon Community College in Burnley will create an additional 60 places.

These places will be provided in a new building, adapted specifically to meet the special educational needs of the pupils who attend the school.

The expansion of Sir Tom Finney Community High School in Preston will create up to 100 additional places and improve the facilities for pupils. To provide the extra places, it is planned to open up the currently unoccupied upper floor of the building.

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

Cabinet also agreed to 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.

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 to meet demand. We are fully committed to achieving this.

"The reality is that we are facing an increasing demand for places. In this context the actions that we have agreed to take will go some way towards addressing the need for more special school places in certain parts of the county, and maximise the resources that we have available.

"Detailed consideration has been given to these proposals, including a formal consultation and a meeting with parents to consider their views.

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

The SEND Sufficiency Strategy, which has received further consultation this year, was also agreed at the meeting.

This strategy helps the county council to meet increases in demand, as well as supporting more children and young people to be educated in mainstream schools.

It aims to ensure that different types of provision are available, and that the right support is provided at the right time. As much as possible, this provision should be available within the local community for children and young people.

All of these actions will need to follow statutory processes for making alterations to schools. A modified approach to this process was also agreed.

Tagged as: Children, Education and Families

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