On Air: PETE EGERTON

Tina Turner: The BestiTunesAmazon

Tina Turner: The BestiTunesAmazon

More teachers urge council to rethink "catastrophic" school cuts

John Warren, The Grove

Published at 12:59pm 15th November 2018. (Updated at 1:07pm 15th November 2018)

More teachers have spoken out against to cut funding for North Yorkshire's Pupil Referral Units. 

  • The units take on students who've been excluded from mainstream school 
  • The council's proposing cutting a large proportion of the funding in an attempt to cut exclusion rates 
  • Harrogate's Pupil Referral Unit, The Grove, will see an 83% cut in funding 

The Grove's headteacher has told Stray FM the cuts would be "catastrophic".

It follows calls from ex- students and parents to halt the proposals.

Protest against PRU cuts
Ex-pupils and staff protest the plans at a consultation event

At a council meeting yesterday, more teachers joined calls for the plans to be scrapped amid fears it would have a big impact on vulnerable young people. 

Local Democrcay Reporter Stuart Minting was at the meeting and described the teachers' speeches as "impassioned pleas". 

He explained: 

Alex Boyce and Richard Hughes, who work at Grove Academy Pupils Referral Unit in Harrogate, spoke at a full meeting of North Yorkshire County Council to highlight their concerns.

Mr Hughes told the council chamber the likely effects of the cuts would be a worsening of the “adolescent mental health crisis”, increasing truancy and child exploitation and anti-social behaviour.

He said: “This huge cut would of course be disastrous for this excellent service and mean at best downsizing, if not closure.

“The severe damage would be to the students themselves, many of whom are the most vulnerable in the area, but then to their families, who often struggle with their own personal, social and health issues.

“The impact on mainstream schools will potentially be catastrophic.

“They cannot cope with further special educational needs demands, as evidenced by the increasing number of exclusions.”

English teacher Mr Boyce told members while the authority planned to stop schools excluding disruptive pupils when the last three years in North Yorkshire had seen a 42 per cent increase in fixed-term exclusions.

He said the soaring exclusions were an “unfortunate and unintended consequence of the Government’s strong focus on school standards”.

After opposition councillors described the proposals as “counter-intuitive” and a “sad state of affairs”, the council’s Conservative leaders said transforming its special educational needs policy was vital.

The authority’s education boss, Councillor Patrick Mulligan, said the issue centred on efforts to reduce the number of pupils being excluded from schools.

“When a child is excluded from school it is severely damaging to their life opportunities. In the past there has been £2.5m discretionary funding for referral services specifically to reduce exclusion and that has not worked.

Over the last four or five years we have seen permanent exclusions almost double. So we are trying to do something different.”

Councillor Janet Sanderson, the council’s children’s services boss, added while the proposals would help manage mounting demand on the special educational needs budget, making savings was not the main reason behind the authority’s strategy.

She said: “When the pressure is on we have a proven track record for transforming and improving services.

If we were in the enviable position of having no financial pressure in the budget whatsoever we would still go down this road because ultimately we believe it is the right thing to do.”

Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Stray FM

Older article

"It's outrageous": Harrogate teenager's fight to save her former school from "devastating" cuts

Education: Zoe Picking's ex-school The Grove, which teaches vulnerable youngsters, could have its funding cut.

Top articles

Masked robbery in Harrogate

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: It happened outside the Co-op on Skipton Road.

Tara Wright: Four questioned after teenage girl found dead in car outside hospital

National: Four men have been questioned over the death of a teenage girl whose body was found in a car.

NASA, we have a problem: First all-female spacewalk cancelled after spacesuit blunder

World: NASA has cancelled plans for the first all-female spacewalk aboard the International Space Station because of a shortage of appropriate spacesuits.

UEFA failed football on racism again, says Kick It Out's Troy Townsend

Sport: UEFA have "failed the game again" and must put an end to their "gimmicky" sanctions by taking the strongest possible action against the racism England players were subjected to in Montenegro, says Kick It Out's Troy Townsend.

Jameela Jamil: A man threatened me because I didn't want his phone number

Showbiz: Actress Jameela Jamil has triggered a conversation involving hundreds of women after she described being sexually harassed in the street.

Go GREEN with your business!

Business: Help the environment during Stray FM's Green Month!

Free World of Wellness and Writing event to arrive in Harrogate

Education: With advice and workshops to improve your productivity.

Get ready to 'Dance, Dance, Dance....All Night!'

Family: My Fair Lady is coming to Harrogate Theatre this June.

WATCH: 43 Minutes of Queen in the 70s

70s: The band's team have put together highlights of the their early career including some iconic performances.

Top Party Dresses for the Festive Season

Christmas: Local Blogger, the Harrogate Girl, picks the best frocks, gowns and outfits for the big Christmas parties of 2017.

"It's a fantastic place": Harrogate cancer centre celebrates major milestone

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre at Harrogate District Hospital is marking its five year anniversary.

"This will make my kids' Christmas"

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Stray FM and Slingsby Gin offer a little light to a family who've had a tough year just before Christmas

Delve into deliciousness at Mother Shiptons Inn

Test pages: We sent Stray FM's James Stanley to try out the new menu at Mother Shipton's Inn Knaresborough.

UPDATE: Driver cut free following crash on the A65

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: It's believed three cars have collided at Hellifield.

LIVE: Stage 4 of the Tour de Yorkshire

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: The Final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire is on today today, passing through Otley, Blubberhouses, Pateley Bridge and Skipton.

Tour de Yorkshire host venues confirmed

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: There'll be no re-run of this year's memorable Tour de France stage finish in Harrogate.

North Yorkshire districts among best places to live in UK

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Three parts of North Yorkshire have been named in the top ten places to live in the UK.

Poll

It's Green Month on Stray FM - how important is being green to you?

Trending in Yorkshire

Masked robbery in Harrogate

It happened outside the Co-op on Skipton Road.

Tour de Yorkshire teams confirmed

38 teams will be competing between 2 - 5 May 2019.

'Knit for Knaresborough'

Thousands of poppies are being knitted for the Royal British Legion.

Brownfield land could be used for new Craven homes

Greenbelt campaigners claim there are 44 local vacant sites.

Commissioner launches consultation on Fire Plan

Voice your views in an online survey

More news...