West Lancashire Community High School

West Lancashire Community High School expansion approved by councillors

Action has been taken to create additional special school places at West Lancashire Community High School in Skelmersdale.

In December 2022, Lancashire County Council's cabinet approved the initiation of a feasibility study and the informal consultation process to create satellite provision linked to the secondary school.

This provision would have been developed in the former Children's Centre on the site of St John's Catholic Primary School, located 2.5 miles away.

A formal consultation on the proposal began on 24 January 2023. However, this was withdrawn when new information was received regarding potential difficulties in developing the external areas of the site, raising questions about its feasibility.

Since then, two further consultations have taken place with the majority of the respondents in favour of building additional teaching space on the West Lancashire Community High School site rather than the original proposal to create satellite provision nearby.

The demand on special school places in 2022/23 is such that there will not be enough places for those that require them without the additional capacity at West Lancashire Community High School being created.

Therefore, an urgent decision has been taken by the leader of the council and the cabinet member for education and skills to approve the proposal to expand the school by building additional teaching space on to the main school site of West Lancashire Community High School, and to approve the necessary funding.

Julie Bell, director of education, culture and skills, Lancashire County Council, said: "The county council has a legal duty to ensure adequate provision is made for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, including post-16 learners.

"This action means we are able to meet this statutory duty and will provide much-needed special school places in Skelmersdale."