People who have had their say during a recent consultation about provision in North Yorkshire for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are being assured that their views are being considered in detail.
North Yorkshire County Council had asked families, young people, and schools to give their views on proposals to reshape the use of the high needs budget for educating children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities based on a new strategic plan The plan will create enough places to meet forecasted needs, more localised provision and a more inclusive mainstream culture.
The proposals are about changing the way provision for secondary-aged children and young people who are permanently excluded or who are at risk of exclusion is commissioned and funded, changing funding arrangements for young people with special educational needs after the age of 16 and changing the way top-up funding for children with special educational needs is allocated.
County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said:
We are acutely aware of how concerned parents and young people are about some of the possible changes, so we want to reassure them that all the feedback given during the consultation is being looked at in great detail.
We are here to listen and we are very grateful to anyone that came to an event or filled in the survey and gave their views during the consultation. This will help us to make recommendations on how to use the high needs budget to the best possible effect in the future.
The overall aim is to look at how we can provide an education system that is inclusive, that achieves better outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and puts them at the heart of everything we do.
Cllr Mulligan added:
Our proposals are to commission more places than we currently have for those who are permanently excluded but at the national average rate for a place. Also, some of the money we currently spend on prevention would in future be targeted towards local education partnerships to reduce the number of school exclusions through earlier intervention. These partnerships would be directed by school leaders who best know how to use funding to suit the needs of students in their area.
We know that keeping students in mainstream education wherever possible increases their life chances, so we want to use some of our funding to support schools to give young people the right kind of help. Of course, there will be instances where a young person may need a different type of education and we will always ensure that their educational needs are met.
We face unsustainable pressures on the high needs budget. This year, the finance received from the Department for Education to fund the education of vulnerable children is nearly £6m less than what we need.
However, the county council is recognised nationally for using increasingly limited resources to great effect and as outstanding in the support it gives to vulnerable children and young people and working with families and communities to improve their outcomes.
The county council executive will make a decision on the proposals in January 2019.