Council to rule on plans to create more places at a special school near Lancaster

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A proposal to increase places at a special school near Lancaster is being discussed by county councillors today, July 11.

Provision at Bleasdale School in Silverdale could increase from 40-54 places and there are also plans to re-designate it as a school for children and young people with generic learning difficulties rather than severe learning difficulties.

The proposed changes follow a request by the school’s leadership and governing board because the pupil profile at the school and throughout Lancashire has changed over time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A formal consultation on the proposals was carried out recently and the final decision will be made by Lancashire County Cabinet today.

Bleasdale School in Silverdale. Picture: Google.Bleasdale School in Silverdale. Picture: Google.
Bleasdale School in Silverdale. Picture: Google.

Cabinet member for education and skills, County Coun Jayne Rear, said: "We remain committed to providing high quality places to ensure that more children in the Lancaster area get the support they need to reach their full potential, closer to their homes.

“The demand for special needs provision in Lancashire continues to increase and we will continue to look at ways we can address this.”

Between 2017-2022, Lancashire saw a 28% increase in demand for places in maintained special schools.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Families seek placements in private and independent special schools where specialist provision is not available within the maintained sector.

Read More
£10k boost as Lancaster adventure company aims to hike up school attendance

If the changes are given the go-ahead, increased provision at Bleasdale School will be achieved over time through existing classes and different year groups, aged 2-19, on the main school site.

Bleasdale’s expansion will help to keep up with the demand for special school places and reduce reliance on the use of independent school placements which put growing pressure on the council’s finances.

Class sizes at Bleasdale School are currently smaller than the national average and than those of other Lancashire special schools. It recently received an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The proposal to re-designate the school as one for young people with generic learning difficulties will enable the county council to make the necessary provision for a greater number of children and young people with special educational needs in North Lancashire.

“It is anticipated that for many pupils and more widely for children and young people who are able to access the additional provision at Bleasdale School, the impact will be positive and their equality of opportunity will be advanced,” says the cabinet report.

“If this proposal is approved the ability for the children and young people to have links in their local community is likely to increase contributing to advancing equality of opportunity.”

If cabinet decides against the proposals, there is a risk of insufficient places and potential for increased costs outside of Lancashire.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.