New Blackpool school will cut cost of education

A new school for children with complex needs is to be built in Blackpool
A new school for children with complex needs is to be built in Blackpool
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A new school is to be built in Blackpool which will cut the cost of looking after the most challenging pupils.

Currently children with complex needs are sent to out-of-town schools costing the council between £23,000 and £50,000 a year each.

Now a 48-place school is to be built on a council-owned site on Langdale Road, Mereside, which was previously the site of the Langdale Adult Training Centre.

It will be paid for by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

A council report says the annual cost of each place in the new school is expected to be £22,000.

It adds: “Given that the costs of placements in out-of-borough provision can exceed £50,000 per year, the creation of the in-borough provision will deliver significant cost savings.”

Coun Kath Benson (pictured), cabinet member for schools and learning, said: “A free special school catering for local students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs would greatly benefit both pupils and parents as it would reduce the long distances children have to travel to independent special schools out of the borough.

“This new free school would ensure Blackpool has the range of expertise needed to meet all pupils’ needs, as well as reducing the cost to the council.

“Investing in local specialist provision will benefit some of our most vulnerable people in the town and contribute towards meeting the needs of our own learning community.

"Our aim is to build on the existing links to services in the local community.

"The current schools that we use cater for the diverse range of needs for pupils but do not provide links to the Blackpool local community and as a result of this, transition back to the area of Blackpool once school placements finish can be difficult.”

Pupils are currently transported for 40 to 50 minutes each way every day to attend specialist schools.

The number of Blackpool pupils needing education or care plans is expected to increase to 825 by 2020 compared to 513 in 2012.

Young people will be admitted from school years 5 to 11, and classes will cater for children aged between 10 and 16.