Expansion plans for Morecambe school will boost special educational needs provision

Plans to expand Morecambe Road School as part of a wider strategy to improve special educational needs provision across Lancashire are set to take a key step next week.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 2:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 3:02 pm

Lancashire County Council is proposing to expand the special school with the creation of 34 additional places, 12 of which would be based in a satellite unit at the nearby Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Morecambe Road School is a mixed special school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties, but as part of the expansion plans it is being proposed to redesignate it as a school that meets the needs of children and young people with generic learning difficulties.

At its meeting on Thursday May 5, the Lancashire County Council's cabinet is expected to agree a recommendation to initiate a formal consultation to increase the number of special school places by 22. This will be created through the building of additional teaching space on the main school site.

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Morecambe Road School.

Councillors will also be asked to consider the results of informal consultation to create another 12 places based in a satellite provision at Lancaster and Morecambe College, which is located 0.3 miles away. This would increase the overall number of places to 189.

The governing bodies of both settings are happy and supportive of the proposals, which were originally put forward by Morecambe Road School.

The report going before the cabinet next week also includes a proposal to seek expressions of interests, and initiate feasibility studies and the informal consultation process that would further support the development of SEN units in schools in different locations across the county.

The proposals link in with the implementation of the county council's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Sufficiency Strategy, which was approved by the cabinet members in October 2020. The strategy was developed in response to the increase in demand for specialist SEND provision in particular areas across Lancashire.

A further review of SEND provision in the county was carried out in June 2021 and this identified a particular demand for special school places in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

Edwina Grant OBE, who is the executive director of education and children's services at Lancashire County Council, said: "The expansion of Morecambe Road School will help to ensure there are enough special school places for all children and young people who need them.

"The development of a satellite provision, that builds on existing arrangements between Morecambe Road School and Lancaster and Morecambe College, is particularly exciting as it will provide older pupils with a broader range of experiences and opportunities that will better equip them with the tools they need to transition into adulthood.

"These proposals are part of a wider strategy to improve SEN provision across the county to enable children and young people to achieve their full potential in education and future employment.

"This is why we are also asking cabinet to take further steps to enable us to consider the development of additional SEN units in areas of Lancashire that need them most."