Lincolnshire

‘Ambitious’ £50m special school shakeup to create 500 places

Lincolnshire County Council will spend £50 million in an “ambitious” shakeup of the county’s schools in an effort to create 500 places for children with special educational needs.

The authority will make changes to 10 special schools across the region, as well as building two new developments.

It comes as senior county councillors signed off on a plan which will see the authority invest in special needs education over the next five years.

Seven academies and three local authority schools will be altered under the plans, including St Christopher’s School and St Francis School in Lincoln.

It will include such changes as increased capacity, relocation and merging of some schools.

Lincolnshire County Council sign outside head offices on Newland, Lincoln.

The idea for the plan will be to make the schools cater for all needs in order to meet a “wider range of pupils”.

Meanwhile, plans have been submitted to the Department for Education by the county council for a new free school in Lincoln.

The authority is also considering another development in the Sleaford and North Kesteven area.

Council officers said there is a “clear need” to expand existing schools and increase places and that the “ambitious” strategy will help to meet the needs of children.

Heather Sandy, chief officer for education at Lincolnshire County Council. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

Heather Sandy, chief officer for education at the county council, said the plan would also reduce journey times that some parents and pupils have to take.

Meanwhile, Councillor Patricia Bradwell, cabinet member for children’s services, said the plan would be a “major change” for the county.

“This will be a major change to how education is delivered in our region,” she said.

“It will mean that children and parents will be able to go to a local school in there area rather than travelling.

“For me, this is a great piece of work and I welcome it.”

The plans are estimated to cost the council £50.6 million over the next five years with the final implementation date for the changes set for September 2023.

Demand for places for special educational needs pupils in the region is expected to increase by 6% by 2023.

Schools which fall under the plan and their changes are as follows:

  • St Lawrence School, Horncastle – change to cater for all needs and increase capacity from 80 to 150.
  • St Bernard’s School, Louth – change to cater for all needs and increase capacity from 88 to 100.
  • The Eresby School, Spilsby – change to cater for all needs and increase capacity from 64 to 84.
  • The Sandon School and Ambergate Sports College, Grantham – combine to one school across two sites, cater for all needs and increase capacity from 152 to 229.
  • The Priory School and The Garth School, Spalding – combine to one school across two sites, change cater for all needs and increase capacity from 128 to 177.
  • The John Fielding School, Boston – change to cater for all needs, relocate and increase capacity from 56 to 140.
  • Gosberton House Academy, Gosberton – change to cater for all needs.
  • St Francis School, Lincoln – change to cater for all needs and increase capacity from 128 to 173.
  • St Christopher’s School, Lincoln – change to cater for all needs.
  • Willoughby School, Bourne – change to cater for all needs and increase capacity from 80 to 148.

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