The chair of the council's children, young people and skills committee, Councillor Tom Bewick, has commented on a recent media report on our plans to restructure our special educational needs service that stated that ‘five teams of 32 full-time equivalent staff will be replaced by 12 generic SEN advisers’.
Councillor Bewick said: "We do not recognise these figures.
"Our aim is to deliver an integrated all-year round service for children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), rather than the current term-time only service. We need to restructure our services to achieve this.
"Overall we currently have eight teams supporting SEND in our schools with a total of 58 full-time equivalent posts. Under our plans the new integrated service would have 55 full-time equivalent posts.
"We’re proposing to bring together seven of these teams to form a new integrated learning support service.
"We currently have 19 specialist SEN teachers working with children with all types of language and communication difficulties. In the new structure we are proposing to have 14 specialist SEND advisers instead.
"The main difference between the two roles is that specialist advisers work all year round rather than term-time only. There are no proposals to cut any teaching or nursery support staff or any funding for direct 1:1 support for children.
"The remaining service which supports children with literacy difficulties includes eight specialist teachers. This service is largely paid for by schools and has been for a number of years. We are proposing for this arrangement to continue and are in discussions with schools to facilitate this.
"The size of this team going forward is dependent on continued ‘buy-back’ arrangements with schools in future.
"In addition, we are proposing to create five new posts in our social, emotional and mental health team."