Fears council’s education cuts will be ‘significant risk’ to pupils’ futures

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 February 2017

Archant

Education leaders at North Somerset Council have admitted cuts in one of its learning schemes will pose a ‘significant risk’ to children’s futures.

North Somerset Council is considering making £680,000 of cuts to its education and learning programmes, meaning 55 jobs may be axed.

The authority says the cutbacks have been taken out of local hands as it faces losing much of its Government education services grant.

The changes mean schools will run services which help vulnerable children and those with additional education needs and disabilities instead of the council.

Louise Malik, head of education transformation at the council, said in a report to staff: “The directorate learning team recognises the significant risks to outcomes for children and young people as a result of the withdrawal of the education services grant and changes to our statutory responsibilities.”

More than 100 responses were received from staff and schools about the proposals. Many of those who responded to the consultation feared the proposals would result in reduced access to education for vulnerable children and more complaints about services.

Ms Malik said: “It is clear that the withdrawal of a range of non-statutory services will have an impact.

“We are doing everything that we can to mitigate these risks by working closely with other services, such as our colleagues in the Children’s Support and Safeguarding branch, the Strategic Schools Forum and with schools, as is suggested by the Government.”

The council has made some changes to its proposals as a result of the consultation.

There were plans for early years childcare to be run by a ‘traded partner’ from outside North Somerset.

This has been put on hold for the moment, and the council’s executive members will decide on whether to go ahead at a meeting on April 25.

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