: Waiting for next track...

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

Baby dies week after car hit his pram and killed his mother

National: A baby seriously injured when a car hit his pram and killed his mother has died a week after the accident.

Teen in Trump hat denies mocking Native American protester

World: A teenager who went viral after appearing to confront a Native American man has said he was trying to calm tensions rather than increase them.

Callum Hudson-Odoi to reject Chelsea's latest contract offer amid Bayern Munich bids

Sport: Callum Hudson-Odoi will reject Chelsea’s offer of a new £85,000-a-week contract, Sky Sports News understands.

Russell Brand reveals he has never looked after his children for a 24-hour period

Showbiz: Russell Brand has revealed he has never looked after his children for a 24-hour period in an interview where he talks about the "real awakening" of the #MeToo movement.

Could you benefit from a life coach?

Business: Harrogate life coach is encouraging people to tackle 2019 with a new outlook.

"Pennies over pupils": Campaigners vow to continue fight as school cuts move forward

Education: Senior county councillors have backed plans to cut funding for the county's pupil referral units.

Behind The Scenes: Policing rural North Yorkshire

Harrogate, Craven & Wharfedale: Stray FM went out on a shift with Craven's Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Could you benefit from a life coach?

Business: Harrogate life coach is encouraging people to tackle 2019 with a new outlook.

When will I have enough money to retire?

Business: And how to get a definitive answer.

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.

The Yorkshire floods: one year on

Special Reports: People affected by last year's downpours describe what has happened in the last 12 months

"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.

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.

Poll

What kind of Vouchers would you like to buy in 2019?
Days out with the kids
34.9%
Food & Drink
29.1%
Hair cuts
5.3%
Spa days
8.8%
Beauty treatments
4.4%
Hotel stays
10.9%
Local Events
6.2%
Group activities
0.5%

Trending in Yorkshire

How to enter this year's Ripon Rotary Bike Ride

Entries for the charity ride are now open!

Severe weather warning for North Yorkshire

The Met Office has warned of ice overnight.

Stalking Campaign Starts in North Yorkshire

The 'No matter how small' campaign encourage victims to seek support.

More news...