Nelson pupil referral unit to close its doors

An East Lancashire school for primary-age pupils unable to access mainstream education will close at the end of the current academic year.

Lancashire County Council has agreed to shut Hendon Brook Short Stay School in Nelson amid concern over educational standards and an increasing financial deficit.

The number of children on the register at the pupil referral unit had been falling and by last month, all of its remaining 11 youngsters were being taught elsewhere.

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A public consultation into the future of the Walton Lane facility did not attract any responses and attempts to find a sponsor to convert the school into an academy have failed.

Hendon Brook Short Stay School (image: Google)

Cabinet papers reveal that although the school serves all districts of East Lancashire, that there are sufficient alternative places in the area to meet demand.

County Cllr Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for schools, ordered the closure in consultation with council leader Geoff Driver under urgent decision powers currently being used by the authority in the absence of cabinet meetings during the coronavirus outbreak.

She said: “Our paramount concern is always to provide the best education we can for all young people, and because of this we feel that this is the action we need to take.”