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Bid for up to 100 new school places for children with special needs in Preston

Posted on - 26th November, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, Schools
Sir Tom Finney high school

Sir Tom Finney Community High School could get 100 new places for children with special needs and disabilities (SEND) if a funding bid by Lancashire County Council is successful.

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The local authority is applying for an additional £3.5m to support children with complex needs and SEND across the county.

This is on top of the additional £6.5 million that has already been committed by the county council, to provide much needed provision for children and young people with SEND.

The extra funding will be used to provide more than 200 extra places across the county that are needed to meet the forecasted increased demand for places in the future.

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The additional places will offer specialist support and tailored facilities, helping those with complex needs to succeed.

Following a series of recent talks with young people, parents, carers and schools, there are currently two options at an early stage of consideration where the specialist places could be provided:

  • Utilising space at Sir Tom Finney Community High School in Preston to create up to an additional 100 places
  • The relocation of Broadfield Specialist School in Oswaldtwistle to the site of Hameldon Community College in Burnley to create an additional 60 places

These options are being considered as part of the local offer and will be submitted to the Department for Education as a proposal.

If this bid is approved, further detailed consideration will take place regarding the proposals, including a formal consultation and a meeting with parents to ensure that their views are considered.

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Edwina Grant OBE, Lancashire County Council’s executive director for education and children’s services, said: “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to apply for this extra government funding.

“One of our key responsibilities at the county council is making sure that there are enough school places to meet demand.

“We know that we have some spare capacity at Sir Tom Finney Community High School that could be utilised effectively to meet the current and future demand.

“It is important that children with SEND are able to have the most appropriate school place, and this additional investment will help us to achieve this.

“At this early stage we have also identified a need to ensure sufficient places at Broadfield Specialist School. The school is outstanding, and the Lancashire ambition is that all our pupils receive this level of education.

“A possible relocation would allow us to increase capacity, but we are at a very early stage as we consider what options are available going forward.”

Parents will be kept fully informed of any proposals which go forward.

Ms Grant OBE added: “We are facing an increasing demand for places, and the additional funding from government if we are successful and our own financial commitment will help us to be able to offer the best possible educational experience.

“Our commitment to providing the best possible educational experience to all of our young people will always underpin any decision that is taken.”

Any issues raised will be presented to a future meeting of Lancashire County Council’s cabinet to make any relevant decisions.

What do you think about the plans to increase SEND provision in Preston? Let us know in the comments section.

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