The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Go-ahead for review to aid ASN children
An action plan for children with additional support needs (ASN) has been given the green light. But it took the chairman of Moray Council’s education, communities and organisational development committee yesterday to get through a business case as a starting point.
Opposition councillors said the report lacked direction and detail.
But members of the SNP administration said the plans were a starting point for developing the service for children’s benefit.
SNP councillor Sonya Warren tabled a motion to approve the case to kickstart the review, saying: “We have a growing number of pupils being classified as additional support needs and we can get something in place to get us to move forward.
“This is a base plate and a lot more work will come.
“This is about what we need to do to provide the best learning opportunities for all our young people with learning support needs.”
Tory Tim Eagle did not think enough consultation was done prior to the report.
He said: “This is exactly what I didn’t want to see. It seems like the old way of doing things with officers getting together and deciding what’s required.”
Mr Eagle put forward an amendment for a working group headed by an independent chairperson with two council officers, members from each political group, a parent representative and head teacher to lead the review.
But committee chairman Aaron McLean felt the transform learning board, including councillors and officers fulfilled that role.
Councillor Frank Brown seconded Mr Eagle.
He said: “What we are presented with today is the outline business case for a review which has no plan, no destination nor route.
Independent councillor George Alexander asked if Mr Eagle and Mr Brown were lobbying for a special school in Moray, which they denied.
At the end of the meeting independent councillor Derek Ross called for the transform learning board to include a head teacher, ASN specialist and more councillors.
He said: “With the debate on additional support needs, there was a real lack of scrutiny. That really, really concerned me.”
Around 38% of Moray’s schoolchildren have additional support needs.
The aim of the review is to create a flexible, responsive service based on the Getting It Right for Every Child policy.
A pilot is expected to run in the Forres associated schools group.