Com­mu­nity coun­cil backs par­ents fight­ing ASN cuts

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

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

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