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£1.77m upgrade for Ribble Valley special school
PLANS for a £1.77million upgrade for a Ribble Valley special school have been drawn up by education chiefs.
An extra 18 students look set to be taken on at Hillside, in Ribchester Road, Longridge, which caters for learners with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).
School chiefs say that by expanding and renovating Hillside, fewer youngsters will be forced to attend out-of-county establishments, which often proves to be more expensive. Last July, the education authority approved plans to increase the roll at Hillside, for pupils aged two to 16, from 65 to 72.
Under the fresh proposals the age limit will be increased to 19 and a further 18 places will be opened up.
Helen Denton, the county council’s executive director for children and young people, said in a report: “Currently some children and young people with ASD have to be educated in schools outside of Lancashire and/or in non-maintained provision due to a shortage of places in the county.
“This is particularly the case for those aged 16-plus.”
While it is estimated to cost about £25,752 per pupil at Hillside, the cost of external placements averages out around £45,500.
And the move to educate more students in a local setting, rather than a residential school outside of Lancashire, should enable more to live at home.
This would save between £50,000 and £200,000 in care packages, depending on indvidual circumstances, county councillors have been told.
The proposals, part of the authority’s ‘invest-to-save’ programme, should be introduced for September 2013.