Community council backs parents fighting ASN cuts
PUPILS in every single class in Argyll will suffer if ‘cruel’ cuts are approved to cut additional support needs (ASN) staff, say the parents of seriously incapacitated children in Oban.
Campaign group Argyll and Bute Parents Against Council Cuts (AB-PACC) said the knock-on effect of losing more than 3,000 hours of support for children will see every child’s access to education diminished.
This week parents secured the support of Oban Community Council for its campaign. Promises were made on Monday evening to write to the local authority and raise concerns about the funding cuts. A spokeswoman for ABPACC said: ‘On Monday night a number of the Oban AB-PACC parents attended a special meet- ing of Oban Community Council.
‘We were given the chance to present our case to some of the community councillors and some of the local Argyll and Bute councillors, and the press were also in attendance. We are happy to report that the Oban community councillors present voted unanimously to support us in our campaign in asking for the ASN cuts to be removed from the public consultation.
‘Oban community council is now going to write a letter to [council leader] Dick Walsh stating this.
‘Oban Community Council is also going to work with us to hold a public meeting centred on the ASN cuts and how their inclusion would affect every child in education in Argyll and Bute, not just children with additional support needs, but every child in mainstream education too.
‘We need every parent in the communities of Argyll and Bute to get involved and we would advise other parents to contact their local community council and ask for support from them with this.
‘We would like to thank the community councillors for their support.’
Jan Roberts, from Oban, said: ‘We are parents who do not understand the way the council works. What we do know about is our children and the support they require to access school.
‘The local authority has a statutory obligation to offer our children support – so I think that in the long run there is very little it can do to cut that provision.
‘However, children who have lesser needs may see their provi- sion cut. Perhaps those children who need support and benefit from one-to-one time.
‘Cutting the support staff means everybody in school will be affected, from the teachers to the pupils. The wider implications of how this could affect children’s education has not been thought through.’
Julie McKenzie, a community councillor, said: ‘I’m really pleased to say that at a special meeting on Friday night my fellow Oban Community Councillors and I all voted unanimously to back AB-PACC with their campaign.’
The council has launched its consultation document on proposed cuts, which can be found on its website until December.
Parents staged a protest outside the council meeting