***(UK) Welsh town plans for SPED school; "huge rise in pupils with additional learning needs"

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

July 1, 2019, South Wales Guardian: Council plan new school for pupils with additional learning needs Neath Port Talbot Council is planning to build a new special school for children aged 7-16 to cope with a huge rise in pupils with additional learning needs. If approved, the school will be a new build funded through the 21st Century Schools programme in addition to those already planned. According to papers going before the council’s education cabinet board on Thursday July 4, the school will cater for around 100 pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. It will be designed specifically for pupils with complex needs with potential facilities involving therapeutic rooms, chill out/quiet zones and cookery kitchens as well as a nature reserve, animal welfare space and outdoor classroom. … Officers said it is needed due to growing numbers of pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties – and would help the council as it implements the new additional learning needs reform. According to recent figures, the number of pupils in the county with autistic spectrum disorder has almost doubled since 2012 while the number of pupils with speech, language and communication difficulties has gone up by 46% and the number of pupils displaying social, emotional and behavioural difficulties has increased by over a third. Officers said the increase has contributed to a major rise in suspensions over the last four years. In primary schools they have more than doubled while in secondary schools they have gone up by a fifth and in special schools they have increased by two thirds. … Neath Port Talbot currently has two special schools – Ysgol Maes Y Coed which provides education for 90 pupils aged 2 to 19 years with profound and multiple learning difficulties, and Ysgol Hendrefelin which provides education for 180 pupils aged 3-16 with a wide variety of additional learning needs across three sites. …