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Falkirk to get special 'haven'

Falkirk has responded to the impending closure of the independent Lendrick Muir School by setting up a unit at Denny High for pupils with communication and language problems.

The council has 11 secondary-age pupils who currently travel to the 30-pupil Lendrick Muir at Rumbling Bridge in Perth and Kinross. It is closing following a Government report critical of its accommodation, management and curriculum. In common with other independent special schools it has raised fees to a level councils are unwilling to pay.

The unit at Denny will have three teachers and is budgeted to cost the council exactly the same as the placements at Lendrick Muir - pound;103,000 in a full year.

Parents had asked the council to recognise that the root of their children's needs lay in learning difficulties and that other issues such as inappropriate behaviour were a consequence of these difficulties. Describing Lendrick Muir as a "haven", they wanted a similar setting and support in Falkirk.

Nigel Fletcher, head of policy development and quality assurance, said pupils would have more opportunities than at Lendrick Muir. "We cannot force integration and we have no targets for it, but if a pupil could benefit from facilities in the school, these will be made available." The three teachers might also have a wider role in the school.

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