A SPECIAL educational needs and disabilities consultation has been launched by Lancashire County Council for people to share their views about support provided in both mainstream and special schools.

These questions relate to a proposed new SEND strategy, which sets out improvements the county council plans to make over the next five years.

The proposals for mainstream schools include setting up SEN units to create nearly 300 additional places. These will support children and young people who require more specialist support within their local community.

This reflects the ambitions of the SEND reforms to enable children with additional needs to remain in mainstream provision where possible.

These will help to increase the range of specialist provision for pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs and autism.

Proposals for specialised services outside mainstream school provision include:

• Moving Broadfield Specialist School in Oswaldtwistle to the former Hameldon Community College site in Burnley to provide better specialist teaching spaces and 60 new secondary places for children with a wide range of SEND needs.

• Providing 100 new places for children with SEND at Sir Tom Finney Community High School, Preston on the top floor.

• Opening the Haven site in Thornton Cleveleys, as a new facility offering more places for children who need social, emotional or mental health support.

Separate consultations will be carried out about these proposals.

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "It's absolutely vital we have the best possible provision in place to support children and young people to achieve their full potential in education, learning

and future employment.

"We've put together a proposed strategy to ensure the best possible support is provided over the next five years.

"The Children and Families Act 2014 sets out that children and young people with SEND should be taught in mainstream schools and colleges within their community where possible.

"This is why we've set out details of how we will improve provision at mainstream schools.

"However, we recognise that special school provision is also crucial so we've put forward plans to improve three services across the county.

"We've proposed a strategy that will provide the best learning opportunities and match children and young people's talents, ambitions and support them to make a positive transition to adulthood.

"However, we want to hear your thoughts and ideas and will consider all the views from this consultation before producing a report for the SEND Partnership Board and putting together the final strategy."

They will have until Friday September 18 to complete an online questionnaire.