A BLACKBURN school has announced plans to open a sixth form.

Crosshill Special School teaches youngsters aged 11 to 16 with learning difficulties and disabilities and is hoping to extend it to 19 year olds.

The Haslingden Road school, which shares a site with Blackburn Central High School, is running a consultation on the plans.

School bosses said they are in discussion with a number of ‘potential local spaces’ which could be separate to the main campus.

There will be 10 places for each academic year with year 12s expected to start this September.

Year 13 will start in 2018 and year 14 in 2019.

The final year will act as a transitional period for youngsters wanting to go on to adult learning colleges.

In a letter executive headteacher Diane Atkinson said the provision will be for a ‘very small number of learners with highly-complex needs drawn from Crosshill Special School and possibly other local settings with a similar complexity of need’.

She said: “We are passionate about providing high-quality education for our learners and community and feel strongly that the age range extension will ensure every learner within Crosshill has an appropriate post-16 destination that meets their needs effectively and is progressive, whether this be a more specialist provision, remaining at Crosshill or a mainstream college placement.”

She said although there are sufficient places at local colleges these young people are ‘vulnerable and have complex disabilities’ which means they need a different type of environment, curriculum offer and access to therapy provision.

The curriculum will have vocational elements and will include life skills and supported work experience.

Cllr Dave Harling, executive member for schools and education at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Crosshill is a good school and I am sure any expanded 16 plus provision would also be good.”

The consultation will run until Thursday, May 4, and for more visit www.crosshillblackburn.co.uk.

There will also be a drop-in event on Wednesday, April 26, between 3.30pm and 5pm.