MORAY COUNCIL HAS denied that they would be withdrawing one-to-one support for children with additional support needs from the next school term.
The withdrawal of such support where it currently exists has been a major point of contention for parents who have been pressing for more information on what the local authority intentions are for such support in the next school term.
The assurance came in a meeting on Friday between SNP MSP Richard Lochhead and Susan Maclaren, head of integrated children’s service, and inclusion manager Pat McLennan.
Mr Lochhead said that the meeting provided helpful background information on the recent history of support provision for children with additional support – and to learn a bit about the review that is putting a three-year funding model in place from the start of the new school term.
Pat McLennan was keen to stress at the meeting that the local authority had never said there would not be one-to-one support – adding that the formula aims to introduce a “more uniform approach” so that children had “fairer access to the support they require”, regardless of the school they attended.
The Council also assured Mr Lochhead that each child will receive support appropriate to their needs and that the specifics of the support is a decision for the Head Teachers.
The MSP said: “I took the opportunity to highlight to the Head of Integrated Children’s Services and Inclusion Manager that parents have been left with a great deal of uncertainty over the summer holiday period.
“In response they offered that all parents/guardians can have an appointment to discuss their concerns and that this can be arranged by contacting the Head of Integrated Children’s Services at the Council. I am aware that a handful of parents already have appointments and would encourage others to follow suit.
“I certainly hope these meetings prove to be helpful – it strikes me that increased communication between the Council and parents is a positive step and should lead to an increased level of understanding in the future.
“I have raised the individual cases of a number of parents with the Council already and the responses have started to come back and I would like to extend that option to any parent who would like me to raise their child’s specific case, particularly for those who may not wish to, or be in a position to, attend a meeting with the Council.
“It was stressed that child-specific support provision is a decision for Head Teachers and I would therefore encourage parents who remain concerned to contact the relevant Head Teacher directly.”
Any parents or guardians who wished a meeting to discuss provision should contact Susan Maclaren via firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01343 563584.