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(UK) Leicestershire expects 22% increase in SPED in next five years

Dec 10, 2018, Melton Times: Melton special school could be expanded if council plans are backed https://www.meltontimes.co.uk/news/education/melton-special-school-could-be-expanded-if-council-plans-are-backed-1-8734689 Plans are being considered to expand Melton’s Birch Wood Area Special School as part of a drive to improve services for children with special educational needs across the county. Leicestershire county council’s cabinet members will next week decide whether to launch a public consultation into the proposals which would cost more than £20 million [$25M US dollars]. The ambitious proposals would see an increase in pupil numbers for special schools, such as Birch Wood, and the creation of 15 new specialist hubs in mainstream schools. … In addition, the proposals also include the building of three small schools for pupils with communication and interaction needs, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder and social emotional and mental health needs. If agreed, residents will be able to have their say about the development of the provision, which would help ensure that a sharp growth in demand for special educational needs (SEND) places can be met. Ivan Ould, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “This is a highly ambitious programme and a significant investment, but we believe it is very much needed. “Children should have the right to access high quality specialist education as close to home as possible, and for some families this currently isn’t the case. “As it stands, we are expecting a 22 per cent rise in demand for SEND provision in the next five years and we simply don’t have enough local specialist facilities to offer support to our young people. “We have already opened a number of new ASD resourced provisions in mainstream schools over the past few months and they have proven very successful, so part of the proposals include expanding this concept further and ensuring we have more specialist ‘hubs’ in our schools to support local needs.” …