Lancashire County Council is proposing to expand Unity College in Burnley to meet the demand for places following the closure of Hameldon Community College.
A report to the council’s Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday 16 January recommends approving a further expansion of 30 Year 7 places from September 2021.
The proposed expansion at Unity College, at Towneley Holmes, will increase the number of Year 7 places from 240 to 270 in 2020 and a further 30 in 2021. The initial expansion in places from September 2020 was agreed at a Cabinet meeting held in August 2019.
The expansion will create an extra 150 places at the school within five years, which the previous report had proposed to be provided at Shuttleworth College.
The current report recommends rescinding the decision that was made by Cabinet in August to permanently expand Shuttleworth College in Padiham by 30 Year 7 pupil places from September 2020. Five potential locations had been investigated on the Shuttleworth College site to facilitate the expansion, however three of these sites are affected by the possible presence of protected species which would delay the programme past the date that the places are needed by. The other two locations are affected by historic mine workings.
The recommendation to Cabinet is that these places are provided by utilising the county council’s site at Easden Clough, on Morse Street, and building a new premises. This site, currently a social services building, adjoins the Unity College grounds.
Edwina Grant OBE, Lancashire County Council’s executive director for education and children’s services, said: “One of our key responsibilities at the county council is making sure that there are enough school places to meet demand.
“We are constantly reviewing changing demographic factors to make sure that we have the right number of school places throughout the county, and we knew that there was a need for some additional secondary places in this part of the county.
“The two colleges are already providing the extra places that are needed on a temporary basis, and cabinet will consider the recommendation to provide the extra places permanently at Unity College only.”