***(UK) Northumberland sees 50% increase in SPED preschoolers in 5 yrs

April 13, 2019, Northumberland Gazette: Search for partner to run Northumberland's special free school Blyth has been revealed as the location of a new special school, following Northumberland County Council’s successful bid to the Government. The local authority submitted a bid last October for an 80-place secondary school for young people who have autism and social, emotional and mental health needs, as part of the Department for Education’s Special Free School initiative…. It was recently revealed that Northumberland had been successful in its bid and, at its meeting yesterday (April 9), the cabinet agreed to begin a formal competition for a trust which would run the school. Coun Wayne Daley, the cabinet member for children’s services, highlighted that Northumberland has seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of pre-school children with complex needs since 2013 and the number of pupils in special schools has risen by 32 per cent in this period. “I’m delighted and I would like to recognise the work of the staff to get us to this stage,” he said. … “There’s a real structural issue of increasing numbers of young people with special educational needs and, as a local authority, we are at the forefront of tackling this.” The council has already created additional school places at Hexham Priory and Ashdale (a new satellite site of The Dales in Ashington), but the free school would provide another 80 for secondary-age pupils…. Cath McEvoy-Carr, executive director of adult and children’s services at Northumberland County Council, said: “There is an urgent need to further increase school places for young people with complex needs….