Lancaster special school to increase pupil numbers by building new classrooms on site and elsewhere

A special school in Lancaster – which has more pupils wanting to attend it than there are places available – is set to expand.

Monday, 18th July 2022, 6:34 pm
Updated Monday, 18th July 2022, 9:51 pm

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has approved plans to boost the capacity of Morecambe Road School, which educates children and young people between the ages of three and 16 who have learning difficulties.

Its current pupil roll stands at 155, but that will rise to 189 after County Hall gave the go-ahead to the expansion.

An additional 22 pupils will be accommodated in new teaching space being created on the existing site, while a dozen others will be based at a new “satellite” facility to be built less than half a mile away at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Another 34 pupils will be accommodated by Morecambe Road School under its expansion plans - but 12 of them will be based in a new building at nearby Lancaster and Morecambe Coillege (image: Google)

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Cabinet members were told at a recent meeting that the latter development would be for Key Stage 4 pupils and would “better equip [them] with the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to prepare themselves for adulthood”.

Young people attending to the satellite site will be able to use the facilities and accommodation available at the college, formalising an existing arrangement with Morecambe Road School.

However, a report to the cabinet stressed that the school would retain responsibility for the curriculum, staffing and resources at the facility.

Morecambe Road School has been rated “good” by OFSTED for the past 19 years and was described by County Hall as being “oversubscribed”.

The cabinet also approved a change to the official designation of the school from one catering for pupils with “moderate” learning difficulties to one looking after those with “generic” learning difficulties.

Cabinet member for education and skills Jayne Rear said that the new classification “better reflects” the type of special needs being provided for at the school.

There was minimal response to a public consultation into the expansion plans, as well as limited attendance at a public meeting – but all involved gave positive feedback and support.

One parent sought – and received – reassurance that safeguarding policies and procedures between the school and college were aligned.

The building work on the Morecambe Road site is being funded by resources available to the school and no additional capital cash has been sought.