Action has been taken to create additional special school places at West Lancashire Community High School in Skelmersdale.
In December 2022, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet approved the initiation of a feasibility study and the informal consultation process to create satellite provision linked to the secondary school.
In this proposal the satellite provision would have been developed in the former Children’s Centre on the site of St John’s Catholic Primary School, located 2.5 miles away.
A formal consultation on the proposal began on 24 January 2023. However, new information was received regarding potential difficulties in developing the external areas of the site, raising questions about the feasibility of the site.
Subsequently, a decision to withdraw the formal consultation on 20 February 2023. A new formal consultation which proposed two options launched on 23 February 2023 and ran until 23 March.
The first option proposed to extend the existing school building on the West Lancashire Community High School site. The second proposed option was to create satellite provision in the former Children’s Centre on the site of St John’s Catholic Primary School.
The results of the consultation showed that the majority are in favour of building additional teaching space on the West Lancashire Community High School site.
An urgent decision has therefore been taken by the leader of the council and the cabinet member for education and skills to approve the proposal to expand the school by building additional teaching space on the main school site of West Lancashire Community High School, and the necessary funding.
The demand on special school places in 2022/23 is such that there will not be enough places for those that require them without this additional capacity at West Lancashire Community High School, which is the reason for seeking an urgent decision before 31 March 2023.
Julie Bell, director of education, culture and skills, Lancashire County Council, said: “The county council has a legal duty to ensure adequate provision is made for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, including post-16 learners.
“This action means we are able to meet this statutory duty and will provide much-needed special school places in Skelmersdale.”