Blackpool’s new education strategy after services failing children with specialist needs

Blackpool Council’s SEND strategy has been unveiled

A new strategy for pupils in Blackpool with special needs sets out four priorities for improving the service which was slammed by inspectors in May.

Blackpool Council’s SEND (special educational needs and/or disabilities) strategy will shape delivery of services in the town up until 2025. An Ofsted report following an inspection in February and March highlighted four areas of “significant weakness” including long waiting times for some therapies.

The new strategy pledges “early access to education, health and care services, and the best opportunities, that help children and young people live healthy lives”.

It is hoped to achieve this by providing services from the same location, having more ‘wrap around’ services close to where people live and working jointly with different organisations to support youngsters with complex needs. Other priorities include adopting a more inclusive approach to enable more SEND pupils to attend mainstream schools, and providing more after-school activity opportunities.

The strategy also pledges to “ensure there is a wide variety of options for respite, short breaks and leisure opportunities to meet a wide range of needs.”

The fourth priority is to provide clearer routes into higher education and training so young people can go on to to live independent lives. The strategy, which was due to be presented to a meeting of the council’s children and young people’s scrutiny committee, states: “Our refreshed plan has grown from the collective voices of our SEND partnership and SEND community.

“It provides direction and challenge to enable positive outcomes for children and young people so that they can live happy healthy lives in a community that is inclusive and supports them to achieve their ambitions.”

Ofsted had criticised the service for not paying enough attention to the views of children, young people, parents and carers. A letter setting out the findings said: “In some instances, important decisions about key services, such as the short breaks provision, have been taken which have negatively impacted on lived experience of families.”


Shelagh ParkinsonLocal democracy reporter
  • 05:45, 29 JUN 2022

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