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More provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities

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Red Rose Lancashire

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will consider proposals to increase the provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities over the next five years.

Following a consultation with young people with SEND, their parents, carers and professionals, the report to the Cabinet meeting on Thursday 1 October recommends approving the publication of statutory notices for the expansion of Sir Tom Finney Community High School, and the relocation and expansion of Broadfield Specialist School.

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 would 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 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.

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.

“The Cabinet will meet on Thursday to discuss this item. 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 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 proposals will need to follow statutory processes for making alterations to schools. A modified approach to this process will also be considered.

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