Live updates

Mixed reaction to changes to special needs education

There is a mixed reaction to plans for one of the biggest shake ups to special needs education for 30 years which has already been on trial in Wigan.

In future a child with special needs won't get a statement - instead there will be an individual plan which includes education, health and care.

The idea is to give parents more control - which is being welcomed.

But there are also fears it could put main stream schools off taking children with special needs because of the costs involved.

Dan Hewitt reports.

Changes to special education

The government has planned a series of reforms for the special educational needs or (SEN) sector in England.
Its been described by some commentators as the biggest shake up to happen for 30 years. Changes include giving parents more control over how money is spent on SEN budgets and ensuring there are good links between the children's education, health and social care. Wigan was chosen as a pilot area for the changes. Some critics have suggested parents haven't been kept informed. But Joanne Platt, from Wigan council says listening to parents has been a vital part of the whole project.


Man charged with Leigh woman's murder

A man has been charged with murder after a woman was found dead in the garden of a house in Wigan.

Thomas Flanagan, 57, of Wigan Road, Leigh, will appear before Wigan Magistrates' Court later today.

Police were alerted just after midnight yesterday with a call from a member of the public who reported concerns for the welfare of a woman who lives at the house.

The victim, believed to be in her late 50s to early 60s, has not been named. She was found dead in the back garden.

A Home Office post-mortem examination will take place later to establish the cause of death.

Firefighters continue to tackle fire in Wigan


Firefighters have been tackling a large fire involving wood on Cemetery Road in Wigan since the early hours of this morning.


This is the scene at the fire in #Ince #Wigan this morning. It's under control but there's still smoke in the area.


Crew at #Ince now discussing tactics and trying to find alternative water source to ease traffic on Warrington Road


Young offenders institute 'struggles' to keep boys safe

Jake Hardy
Jake Hardy died at Hindley

A report has criticised Hindley young offenders institute for struggling to keep some of the vulnerable boys safe.

An unannounced inspection at the site near Wigan took place during the inquest of Jake Hardy. The 17 year old killed himself whilst at Hindley. The report found there was an assault or fight everday. Although they were recognised for a number of improvements including the quality of education. Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • the quality of education, learning and skills provided was the best inspectors have seen in any YOI holding this age group;
  • Ofsted judged provision to be as good, it not better, than that found in the community;
  • no young person had left without accommodation to go to and most had a job or training place to start soon after release;
  • there was good access to programmes that would help boys to change their offending behaviour;
  • relationships between boys and staff had improved since the last inspection and boys said the support they received from personal officers was much more effective than had been the case;
  • support for boys at risk of suicide and self-harm had improved.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • despite its efforts, Hindley struggled to keep the vulnerable boys it held safe;
  • intimidating shouting out of windows at night remained a problem;
  • on average there was one fight or assault every day;
  • the environment and regime in the segregation unit remained poor; and
  • consideration was being given to withdrawing funding from the Willow Unit, a psychologically-informed resource for boys with the most complex problems.

"Hindley manages a very complex and challenging population and the Governor and his staff deserve real credit for the impressive progress they have made."As the Chief Inspector recognises, the young people there are being given access to good quality education, training and resettlement work which are all key to their rehabilitation."Safety is the Governor's top priority and it will continue to be given the necessary focus as they build on the progress made and take forward the recommendations."

– Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service


Wane wary of Wigan slip-ups

Wigan Warriors Head Coach Shaun Wane has warned his players against complacency in the Super League run-in.

The Warriors face Hull KR who sit ninth in the league tonight.

The Wigan boss says his team cannot afford a repeat of their surprise defeats to Bradford and Wakefield this season.

Wigan currently sit second in Super League, and they've been training with Mixed Martial arts fighter Martin Stapleton as they look to catch leaders St Helens.

Sawn-off shotgun discovered in bag hidden in Wigan

A sawn-off shotgun has been discovered hidden in a bag in Wigan.
A sawn-off shotgun has been discovered hidden in a bag in Wigan. Credit: PA

A sawn-off shotgun has been discovered hidden in a bag in Wigan.

A metallic blue Clio was spotted being driven along Castle Hill Road in Hindley at around midday yesterday when it stopped and a black sports holdall was placed on a dirt track covered by trees.

Police found inside the gun and two rounds of ammunition.

We may never know what this gun was intended for, but taking it off the streets means there is now one less weapon that could cause serious injury or even a fatality and a rob a family of a loved one."

– DC Lynsey Watson, Greater Manchester Police

Police name 20-year-old woman killed after collision with two taxis in Wigan

A woman who died following a collision in Wigan has been formally identified.

Megan Louise Hoskins, 20, was found trapped underneath a black Skoda Octavia on Ormskirk Road at about 12.45am on Sunday 20 July 2014.

Police were called to the scene after reports of a collision between a pedestrian and two taxis.

Megan was rescued by fire fighters and taken to hospital but died a few hours later.

A 20-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been bailed pending further enquiries.

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 1827 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Man arrested on suspicion of assaulting a woman shortly before she died in road collision

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a woman shortly before she was killed in a road collision.

The 20-year-old victim died in hospital after she was struck by two taxis in Ormskirk Road, Wigan, in the early hours of today.

Police said initial inquiries found that shortly before the collision, there had been a row between the woman and a 20-year-old man, who has since been arrested on suspicion of assault and is being questioned.

'Our thoughts and sympathies are with this young woman's family and friends at this tragic time while they come to terms with their loss.

"We are trying to establish the circumstances leading up to the incident and are appealing for anyone who witnessed the collision or has any information about what happened before to call us with any information."

– Detective Inspector Paul Rollinson
Load more updates


Today's top stories