A senior county councillor said a £50 million plan to create 500 school places is “one of the biggest changes” the authority has made for children with special educational needs.
Executive councillors on Lincolnshire County Council approved the plan which will make changes to 10 special schools across the region.
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.
Councillor Patricia Bradwell, cabinet member for adult care, health and children’s services, said the plan will make a difference for parents and pupils.
“This is probably one of the biggest changes that we have ever made to special educational needs in the county,” she said.
“It will mean that children will be travelling to their local school instead of travelling around 100 miles a day there and back to a school in the county.
“For me, I think it is just going to be a lot better for children, they will be able to stay in their own community and make friends there.”
She added that the plan will be a “major change” for how education is delivered in the region.
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 the county council, said the plan would also reduce journey times that some parents and pupils have to take.
“What we wanted to do was design a strategy that addressed some of the pressures,” she said.
“We wanted a sustainable strategy where we had Lincolnshire special schools that are fit for purpose and had the buildings and equipment they needed.
“We also wanted to reduce the journey times that some of our children and young people were having to take.
“They were having to take those journey times because either the schools near them had no places or the school was specialist in an area which did not meet their needs.”
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
- GosbertonHouse 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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