‘Special Schools’ could return for kids facing learning difficulties

THE INCREASING NUMBER of children in Moray schools requiring specialised help is proving to be a major challenge for Moray Council’s education chief.

Children who have learning difficulties could be segregated and placed in a specialised school, a meeting of the audit and performance committee heard on Wednesday.

Councillors were told by Laurence Findlay, the corporate director of education and social care, that the situation being faced in Moray was placing a “strain on budgets as we move forward”.

He added: “We have a huge amount of youngsters with exceptional needs in our schools – and less money available to spread around all 53 of them. The resources we have are not sustainable in the long-term and would be spread too thinly across the area.

“There have therefore been discussions around creating a specialised school in one setting. This is something we wish to come back to and discuss as a council in the future, as this problem will not get any better in the next few years.”

Such specialised schools were common place throughout Scotland but that started to change as local authorities shifted to a policy of teaching children with special needs within the general school population.

Mr Findlay admitted that the idea of creating a single ‘special school’ for such children would be seen as a shift in policy.

Nationally the number of children requiring additional support has doubled in the last five years.