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(UK) Leigh, England: "Rising demand" for SPED places"; 'more numbers of autistic youngsters'

Nov 24, 2018, Leigh Journal: Challenging times ahead for school place projection https://www.leighjournal.co.uk/news/17244892.challenging-times-ahead-for-school-place-projection/ THE task of school place planning across the borough has been made "more difficult" by a falling birth rate and unpredictable levels of housing development, a committee has heard. Officers responsible for projecting demand in the borough say an expected influx of 22,500 new homes as part of the GM Spatial Framework (GMSF) is having to be factored in. This comes as public health bosses have indicated the borough's birth rate will fall to lower levels in the next 10 years than in the previous decade. Councillors were told although these two may balance each other out, they could cause inconsistent levels of demand across different areas. … Meanwhile, members also highlighted a rising demand for places for children with special educational needs. Shevington Independents representative Cllr Janet Brown asked whether the council "regrets closing some excellent special schools" in recent years and whether more would have to be built. Cabinet members are this week due to discuss plans to invest £34m [$44M US dollars] to improve the borough’s specialist provision. … “We need to ensure the quality of our schools meet the needs of our children, which have changed, we’ve got more numbers of autistic youngsters (for example). …