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Councils back own provision

South Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire are the latest councils to re-examine their special education provision and bring pupils into mainstream schools, cementing the trend throughout Scotland.

Councillors in South Lanarkshire this week agreed to develop a special school for secondary pupils in the annexe of Stonelaw High, Rutherglen, once the new high school is built.

The council currently pays nearly Pounds 11,000 a pupil to other authorities for 15 pupils from the Rutherglen-Cambuslang area. There is no local provision and other council special schools are full. It hopes the new annexe will be self-financing within four years.

Pupils will have access to the two local secondaries, Stonelaw and Trinity High, and support services will be available.

North Ayrshire wants to transfer younger pupils with communication disorders from Stanecastle School, Irvine, to Dreghorn primary, and move other pupils with hearing difficulties into a new unit at Towerlands primary, Irvine.

There is "compelling evidence", the council says, that pupils with hearing impairments who attend the specialist West Park School "are no longer best served by a segregated primary school".

It adds: "The professional and dedicated service of the staff at West Park cannot counteract the growing sense of isolation of this group of children. The projected numbers do not indicate a school of viable size. The children, as a consequence, lack access to their natural entitlement of an appropriate peer group and contact with mainstream classes is restricted and cumbersome to arrange."

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