In North Ayrshire, trends towards mainstream provision have created higher expectations and a loss of economies of scale in special schools. Fortunately, the council has managed to avoid major budget headaches.
Jim Tulips, North Ayrshire's head of special education, says: "There is much more public awareness of the new syndroms identified. Thirty years ago children would have behavioural difficulties, now they have got autism, Asperger's syndrome, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
"This does lead to parental pressure groups and parents often want a specific policy on the provision they want. This kind of pressure is new."