Update: The first tranche of this consultation finished on 7th February. Click here for Cllr Caroline Page’s response and remarks: SEND Education on Suffolk – the costs and hidden costs).
Suffolk County Council are currently consulting about the future of specialist education provision in Suffolk.
Opposition councillors were naturally sceptical that this was cover for money-saving, but very clear and open answers from officers have reassured us that this is not a cost-cutting exercise (the money is ring-fenced) but about spending it to best advantage and with better outcomes.
Suffolk currently has 256 young people sent out of county at the cost of £11m a year for educational provision that Suffolk has not been able or willing to provide in county; some of Suffolk’s PRUs ‘require improvement’ (one is in special measures) and are significantly more expensive per capita and produce worse outcomes than Norfolk’s (which are rated outstanding), and all the SSCs (specialist support centres) are located in one quadrant of the county because historically they were only sited in schools that declared themselves willing to house them. “This means there is no specialist support provision in the north and west of the county and some children are making two 75-minute journeys a day to reach them,” according to Caroline Page, spokesperson for Transport and Vice Chair of Educational Transport Appeals.
Suffolk is asking for responsesto find the best way to address these issues and others.
From 11 January – 7 February 2016 people have the opportunity to give your views on a range of options Suffolk are looking at, and you can also suggest other ideas for Suffolk to consider. From 14 March – 24 April 2016 there will be a formal consultation on the proposed changes: a 6 week formal consultation period where you can make representations to the Council – both expressions of support or objections to the proposals.
So, whether you are concerned or worried, or simply want to add your voice to the debate – please respond and add your views! They will be valued You can find the documents here