Horncastle Special School expansion approved by Lincolnshire County Council

Plans to expand a Horncastle special needs school and nearly double its capacity have been given the go ahead.

Lincolnshire County Council, which is behind the plans, was given permission by its planning officers to create an entirely new two-storey building at St Lawrence School, including 17 classrooms, main hall, physiotherapy rooms, sensory and calming rooms, and more.

It is part of an £86 million investment in special needs schools across the county and will see pupil capacity increase from 80 to around 150.

Lea Mason, Executive Head Teacher of the Lincolnshire Wolds Federation which encompasses St Lawrence and St Bernard's in Louth, said: “As a school community, we are extremely pleased to hear the news that planning has been agreed for the new school build.

"Our aim to assist our students in reaching their full potential will be incredibly supported through access to appropriate spaces, inside and out. This development is going to be essential in providing an improved learning environment for all our students, across the whole school.

“We are excited for works to start, which will also provide many learning opportunities and access to world of work experiences for our students, as well as the local community.

“This is a long awaited, exciting development for the school, to create the much-needed provision and specialist spaces, to enable us to build on the opportunities to support our students, in all areas of need, within all need provision.”

Lincolnshire County Council’s aim is to limit the number of pupils travelling outside of the county for their education.

The school currently operates way over capacity with 178 pupils supported by 78 staff.

Although pupil numbers will reduce after the new build, the documents say primary and secondary students will be offered: “much improved and specialist teaching spaces, enabling it to meet a wider range of needs and giving students access to a broader curriculum.”

“As all the other SEND schools in the county are expanding or have been developed to support all through all needs provision, it is envisaged that students who currently attend St Lawrence and who travel long distances to attend the school will be able to transfer and attend their local school which can then meet their educational requirements/needs,” said a delegated decision report from LCC case officer Marc Willis.

The old school will be kept open during building works in a bid to minimise disruption to pupils’ school year.

Once the new building is completed, the old school will be demolished to make way for soft landscaping and outdoor playing field.

Elsewhere, there will be 55 standard car parking bays, four enlarged parking bays and four accessible bays along with capacity for up to 28 minibuses.

Council bosses hope work will be able to start in Autumn 2022.