Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has agreed a new strategy to help and support more children and young people in alternative education provision.
At the meeting held today (Thursday 1 October), Cabinet agreed a report detailing the current alternative education provision across the county, how this is being used and the potential impact this may be having on key outcomes for children and young people.
The decision taken by Cabinet means that the Alternative Provision Strategy is the approved approach to alternative provision for children and young people across the county, over the next four years.
This new approach to alternative provision in Lancashire will:
• increase the number of children and young people supported in mainstream provision
• reduce the number of exclusions from schools
• address the rising number of young people receiving home tuition
• prevent children being removed from the school roll, leaving them without an education
• halt the increasing use of specialist provision
• ensure specialist provision is in the right locations
• increase the number of young people in education, employment and training
Alternative education provision is for pupils who, because of exclusion, illness, or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education; for pupils on a fixed-term exclusion; or for pupils accessing off-site provision to improve their behaviour.
Cabinet also agreed to the proposal to open the Haven school site in Thornton – Cleveleys, and to increase the capacity at Stepping Stones Short Stay School in Lancaster. This decision means that capacity will be increased for primary and secondary-aged pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs in Lancaster, Morecambe, Fleetwood and Lytham.
The additional places will offer specialist support and tailored facilities, helping those with complex needs to succeed.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “I’m pleased that this proposed new strategy has been agreed. It really does build on an independent review of our arrangements for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.
“Priorities include identifying children’s needs at an early stage, as well as building on and sharing strategies which support development, learning and improved behaviour.
“Our commitment to providing the best possible educational experience to all of our young people will always underpin the decisions that are taken.”
A broad range of alternative provision is currently available, provided by the local authority, through independent schools, further education colleges, charities, and registered businesses.
This provision may be therapeutic for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, or it may offer vocational learning.