January 29, 2020 3.06 pm This story is over 51 months old

New Lincoln special school funding falls through, expansion planned instead

The council was unsuccessful in getting funding for a new free school

A Lincoln Special Educational Needs school is set to be expanded by 133 places after funding from Central Government for a brand new facility fell through.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive will be asked by officers to approve the expansion of Lincoln St Christopher’s School from 200 to 333 across two sites with a state-of-the-art, modern primary facility proposed for the former Usher School site on Skellingthorpe Road and a remodelled and enhanced secondary facility on the existing St Christopher’s School site.

Under the plans, St Francis School, which was originally going to be expanded from 128 places to 173 places, will instead only cater to 155.

The council announced in 2018 that it wanted to build a new free school on the former Usher site as part of £50 million SEND investment plans to tackle a shortage of places for children with special needs.

By 2023, it predicts it will need an additional 111 places in the city. The new Free School would have created an additional 155 places, while St Christophers’ capacity was expected to reduce to just 155 places.

The county’s five year plan as a whole is hoped to create 500 additional places overall.

However, a report before the executive next week said a bid for capital funding towards the project was unsuccessful forcing the authority to rethink its plans.

St Christopher’s at the time was described as “hugely oversubscribed” and in September 2019 it was already 35 over its official capacity.

Officers said: “This proposal will enhance the quality of provision, sustain local provision and relieve the pressure the school is under from being over capacity.

“It is also an opportunity to extend and enhance further the already excellent provision in place at St Christopher’s School to benefit current and additional pupils and staff.”

They added that the move will meet parents’ preferences and reduce the potential travel caused by alternative options.

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