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(UK) N. Yorkshire: parents angry over mainstreaming 200 SPED kids; plan called "cheap/unworkable"

July 4, 2019, Darlington and Stockton Times: Parents accuse North Yorkshire County Council of special needs 'cover-up' PARENTS of children with special educational needs facing major changes to their schooling have accused a council of launching a misleading public relations operation in response to their concerns. North Yorkshire County Council issued a press release after being alerted to parents’ claims that all 20 of the authority’s Enhanced Mainstream Schools (EMS) had rejected an “unworkable” funding offer of £48,000, instead of the £180,000 funding they currently receive. The parents said the EMS, which provide specialist help so that children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities can make progress within a mainstream environment, have been served with closure notices and staff have been told that they will be out of a job by August 2020. The authority’s press release did not directly respond to the EMS closure claims, but instead stated 31 “enhanced mainstream bases” would be established which will provide over 200 places across the county. It stated there will be 17 primary schools offering up to eight places each and 14 secondary schools offering between eight and 15 places each catering for children with social, emotional and mental health needs, as well as those with communication and interaction difficulties. … “This is about best practice,” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Education and Skills. “This new model of enhanced provision for special needs children and young people will build a bridge between mainstream and special education so that where possible children with education, health and care plans can continue to be educated in mainstream schools.” After learning of the council’s response, one parent said she had been staggered by the council’s attitude towards dealing with the parents’ complaints. She said: “Words almost fail me at the way these people are attempting to justify their actions. The fact is that none of the current EMS have said yes to the restructuring because it’s cheap and unworkable. The local authority want more but done on the cheap. The headteacher at my son’s school has said that there is no way any school or governing body in their right mind would agree to this model. “The figures are unworkable, these children are going to be among our most vulnerable and need specialist practitioners, this new model funding will simply not offer that. “I am disgusted and the outright lies and cover-ups that are taking place.”


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