No plans to withdraw one-to-one support in schools

Parents have been reassured over one-to-one provision.
Parents have been reassured over one-to-one provision.

PARENTS HAVE BEEN assured that Moray Council has no plans to withdraw one-to-one support for children with special needs at its schools.

Campaigners have expressed fears that the provision was to become a victim of cuts in additional supports needs provision when schools return from the summer holiday.

Parents are still awaiting a meeting with education chiefs to discuss what is likely to happen following approval by the children and young services committee meeting last week that will see ASN hours and posts cut at many schools.

The decision was taken after assurances from the local authority that the changes were no more than would normally happen each year, adding that while some schools may see a fall in ASN provision others will rise.

This week more fuel was added to parents’ fears when the chairman of the Moray branch of the National Autistic Association, Glyn Morris, said that he believed more parents then ever would opt for home education if one-to-one support was withdrawn. He said that as a result of withdrawal of such provision “we would be looking at children being home-schooled on an unprecedented level”.

However, last night local councillor and Moray MSP, Douglas Ross, moved to reassure worried parents. Mr Ross has taken a particular interest in the issue and attempted at the committee meeting to force a delay on any changes being made this summer, but that was defeated in the council chamber.

He said: “Following concerns raised with me last night about further issues with ASN support in Moray, I have just spoken with the Council about the rumours that one-to-one provision will not be provided after the summer holidays.

“I have been assured this is not the case – and where the school and parents feel it is the best option for the child it will continue to be provided.

“I’ve also asked that the meeting between the council and parents about the change in formula is held as soon as possible – a commitment was given to hold this meeting.”

Mr Ross added that he will continue to press Moray Council on the issue and called on parents who have particular concerns to get in touch with him directly.

Meanwhile, SNP MSP for Moray, Richard Lochhead, has raised the issue in Holyrood by posing two questions – the first asking the Scottish Government how demand for ASN support in schools was taken into account when calculating council funding – and how that had been adjusted for Moray.

The second question posed by the MSP asked how ASN provision was inspected and regulated at schools. Mr Lochhead said that he expected to receive responses to his questions by July 26 and will discuss these with parents and Moray Council.