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Therapy takeover urged

Health boards should lose control over the funding of speech and language therapy services, according to Glasgow, the council with the highest number of special schools. The city wants education departments to be responsible for managing and organising services that are increasingly in demand from parents.

In its response to the Government's consultation paper on special educational needs, Glasgow underlines the crucial role of mainstream schools in the city as more pupils are educated locally.

More than 1,000 children have records of need out of a mainstream school population of 78,000 - although the city continues to provide places for more than 2,000 children at 32 special schools and 12 units.

Glasgow now wants to see a rethink on therapy services for pupils scattered around mainstream schools.

Speech, language and occupational therapy and physiotherapy services all need to be co-ordinated, its response says. "Investment will be essential if children are not to receive a diluted service because of the impact of travelling time, inadequate facilities or space."

The council also is concerned about the national shortage of educational psychologists and speech and language therapists, "particularly in the light of ever heightened expectations on the part of parents and associated professionals".

Parents of pupils with communication disorders, complex learning difficulties and emotional and behavioural difficulties are also demanding music and drama therapy.

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