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Issue:- 11 April 2013

Council meets demand for special school places

LIVERPOOL City Council is improving and extending special schools to cope with increased demand for places. The number of pupils attending special schools in Liverpool has increased by eight percent since 2008, in line with national trends.

Better medical care means the number of pupils with severe learning difficulties has increased by 25% since 2010; up from 231 to 336; because children with previously untreatable or life threatening conditions are now able to attend school.

There has also been a similar percentage growth in the number of pupils diagnosed with autism, due to improved assessment at an earlier age.

Now, the City Council is acting to meet the demand as part of the Mayor's Investment Plan for Secondary Schools.  Redbridge High Community Special School; judged 'outstanding' by OFSTED – will have 30 additional places when it moves from its current home in Fazakerley to a new £5 million building on Long Lane in early 2015.

The new building will replace existing worn out and cramped facilities ; enabling it to increases its numbers from 90 to 120. Also co-located on the site will be a new £5 million home for Bank View High Special School, which will support up to 150 pupils.

Plans are being drawn up to rebuild Aigburth High School at a cost of £5 million and spend a further £5 million relocating Millstead Primary Special School from Wavertree to the site of the former Campion City Learning Centre in Everton.

Work is also about to start on classroom extensions worth a total of £2 million for Palmerston and Abbot's Lea Special Schools in Woolton.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said:- "We are seeing increases in demand for places due to amazing advances in medicine and care, and better diagnosis of conditions. Our children with the most needs deserve the best teaching in quality buildings. We are responding to the increase in demand by replacing worn out facilities with better quality buildings and making sure we can cope with demand. The new schools will replace existing tired and worn out facilities. They will enable our incredible staff to teach pupils the full curriculum which is hugely important to make sure they achieve their full potential.  This will further improve both teaching and learning, and build on the already outstanding education that our young people receive."

The Mayor's Cabinet will be asked on Friday, 5 April 2013, to approve publication of a proposal to increase the number of places at Redbridge.  Consultation has already taken place with people living in the area and no objections have been received. 

The work on Redbridge will be funded by the Department for Education's Priority Schools Building Programme. 

Funding for the Mayor's School Investment Programme is coming from a mix of borrowing, government funding and capital receipts from the sale of surplus school sites.

New bike rides spring up

LIVERPOOL people are being urged to get active this spring, with a series of new evening bike rides being offered as part of the City's free cycling programme.  Successful initiative Cycle Liverpool South, which already runs free, guided bike rides every Sunday; is adding a new date to the weekly cycling calendar, with extra rides being put on every Tuesday evening at 6pm - from 9 April until 24 September 2013.

It's giving people the chance to take advantage of the lighter evenings of spring and summer, get fit and healthy and discover the City on 2 wheels.  Run by sustainable transport organisation Sustrans, the family-friendly rides take in the sights and sounds of south Liverpool, using local cycle routes to visit places like the Mersey Promenade, Calderstones Park, Speke Hall and Speke Garston Coastal Reserve.    The guided rides welcome cyclists of all abilities, with trained volunteer cycle leaders on hand to help improve people's confidence and develop their cycling skills.

Liz Connell, one of the volunteer ride leaders, said:- "Cycling has changed my life! It has made me fitter and given more energy. And it's such a sociable activity.  I would urge anyone who has been thinking about cycling to join one of our guided rides. The fun I have with people of all ages is fantastic and the places we have discovered are amazing!"

Cycle Liverpool's South's extended programme means the rides now take place:-

Every Tuesday at 6pm - meeting at Mossley Hill Hospital Car Park, Park Avenue, Aigburth.

Every Sunday at 10.30am – also meeting at Mossley Hill Hospital Car Park.

►  Rides last for approximately 90 minutes - except for the ride on the last Sunday of every month, which is two to three hours long and is designed for more confident cyclists who want to explore further - visiting Liverpool Loop Line, Croxteth Hall and Hale Lighthouse.

The rides are open to all, but under-18's should be accompanied by an adult, and participants must have a roadworthy bike. If you don't have a bike, a limited number of pool bikes are available to book in advance by calling Alice on:- 07799 037044 or via email,  or at Facebook.

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Transport, Councillor Tim Moore, said:- "It's great news that the Cycle Liverpool South programme is being extended for the spring and summer. It will give local people even more opportunity to hop on a bike, get out-and-about in South Liverpool, meet new people and get some exercise.  Cycling is really on the up in this City at the moment and the on-going success of these free cycle rides is further proof that there's never been a better time to get on your bike." 

For more information about all the free cycling programmes on offer in Liverpool, visit:- and see the 'Bike Rides' section.

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