Teachers in mainstream schools in Dorset have been asked to take on more children with special educational needs (SEN) as council bosses try to cut costs.
Dorset County Council has told heads that it is funding the education of too many SEN children at private special schools outside the county.
Officials want better specialist units in primary and secondaries to stop this "over-reliance" on special schools. They believe those with moderate learning difficulties could be catered for in state schools if more "inclusive learning environments" are created.
More than #163;7 million was spent on educating SEN pupils in private special schools outside the county - above the national average.
Now the decision to send a child away to school will be more closely scrutinised, the council says.
Total SEN spending in Dorset in the 200910 academic year was #163;33 million, slightly above the average. KM.