The opening of two borough special schools are set to ease the pressure on the number of places available, as new figures show the demand for more provision.

Department for Education (DfE) figures reveal that nearly two-thirds of special schools were full or overcrowded across England, including Elms Bank in Unsworth.

The data show the Ripon Avenue school was over capacity in the 2022-23 school year.

Across England, 63 per cent of 1,077 special schools had at least met capacity, with around 4,000 more pupils than places.

Earlier this year, the DfE confirmed that plans for a new special school in Redvales, which is expected to open in February.

It is understood the school will be called Redvales High School and will be part of Oak Learning Partnership, which runs several schools in the area.

Cllr Lucy Smith, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Local authorities have been prevented from opening new schools, including special schools for over a decade.

“All new schools must be free schools, and the government has only permitted new free special schools to be established in recent years.

“For this reason, the only option to meet growing demand for special school places has been for local authorities to work with existing special schools to increase capacity.

“Bury has done this with both primary and secondary special schools.

“This has enabled greater numbers of pupils to be accommodated.

“Bury has been fortunate to secure approval to the establishment of two new free special schools.

"The first of these schools opens in February 2025, with the second scheduled to open in September 2026.”

The figures also found nearly a quarter of state secondary schools across England were full or overcrowded, largely unchanged from a year before.

In Bury, six of 13 schools were at or above capacity.

Plans for a "long overdue" new secondary school in Radcliffe were confirmed by the council last year following the closure of Riverside High School in 2014. 

The new high school is set to open in September this year and will offer 150 places for pupils between years 7 and 11. 

Meanwhile, 17 per cent of primary schools across the country were facing the same issue – with 11 of them in Bury.

In the Spring Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt promised £105m over the next four years to build more than a dozen new special free schools.

The Treasury said it would create more than 2,000 additional places for children with Send in England.

Earlier this month, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan admitted to school and college leaders that the government had not done enough for these children.

Speaking to the Association of School and College Leaders annual conference, Ms Keegan said: "If you look at special educational needs, we haven’t built enough special educational needs places or schools."