ALN SCHOOL PROPOSALS
The Town Council has responded to the consultation on Additional Learning Needs.
The letter sent to the County Council is posted here.
13th February 2014
Ian Roberts Esq
Powys County Council
Dear Mr Roberts
Consultation on Additional Learning Needs
Good morning, I write on behalf of Welshpool Town Council in response to the consultation entitled 'Restructuring of provision for pupils with Additional Learning Needs in the 3-11 age group'.
The Councillors considered the consultation in detail at their meeting held last evening. The matter was also discussed with members of the public who attended the meeting.
The Councillors have deep concerns about the proposals and wish to point out that saving money in this way is totally unacceptable.
1. Welshpool Town Council therefore strongly objects to the proposals for the reasons set out below: Although the Council accepts that budget cost savings have to be made this should not be at the social cost likely to be paid, particularly when children are involved.
2. The idea that 6 teachers can travel between schools and give anything like the service required is laughable and ill thought out. There are 26 teaching and assistants at present, to think that this level of staff can be replaced with just 6 (with travelling as well) is unthinkable. If you work it out those teachers will have approx 2-3 minutes of time per child per week. Not quite the 50% suggested in the consultation papers.
3. There is a need for the 13 units to remain in place and to continue with the excellent work providing what is an essential service.
4. The idea that the ALN children will be able to cope with main street school without proper support does not work.
5. To move such children from a special unit back into main stream schooling is unsettling and unnecessary.
6. The only recourse a main stream school will have if children are disruptive is to exclude them, following that attendance will probably fall and when the school has a ESTYN report they will be penalised for poor attendance. This just does not work.
7. The Education Service appears to be able to afford translators for those who do not speak English in our schools yet it appears that the wellbeing of our ALN children are not so important when it comes to funding. This does not on any level appear to be very fair.
8. The scheme if implemented would lead to more bullying of ALN children, this has happened in many other areas where they are in main stream schooling.
9. Many of the ALN children in special units at present would not be able to cope with main street schooling, particularly when they have been in a special unit up to now.
10. The Risks as set out in the consultation document are recognised and the Councillors agree with that list. If the County Council is aware of these risks why are they considering proceeding with these proposals?
11. If there is a doubt about the cost saving (ie the need to employ more staff
12. that is envisaged in the consultation) then it is possible that no money is saved and we are left with a new system that does not work.
13. There is real parental and teaching staff concern in Welshpool. If this is a true consultation then their views should be heard and taken on board very seriously.
No doubt you will consider these representations and I sincerely hope that (in the light of the above) Powys County Council will drop these proposals and retain the current system in place. In the view of my Councillors the 'social cost' of the new scheme is to great to be considered when taking into account the effect on the children and the community.
Robert A Robinson FRICS AILCM