Norfolk County Council confirms autistic support team will remain

Norfolk County Council confirms support will remain

Norfolk County Council confirms support will remain - Credit: Archant

A support team for Norfolk youngsters with autism, threatened with redundancy, has been told its jobs are now safe.

But the fate of other workers in Norfolk County Council's special educational needs (SEN) support teams is still uncertain.

It follows changes to the way SEN services are funded in the area.

From September, 75pc of the money available will be delegated directly to Norfolk schools and the responsibility for how it is spent will rest with them.

That led to a consultation by Norfolk County Council into its support services with the autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) teaching assistant team among those facing uncertainty.


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The discussions are now complete and Michael Bateman, additional needs strategy and commissioning manager for children's services, said the future of the ASD team was now secure.

He said: 'We have been consulting with staff over a number of changes to how special educational needs support, via the learning support team, works in Norfolk as 75pc of the current service / funding – approximately £1.5m – will be delegated to school clusters from September this year.

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'The consultation closed last week and I have been really pleased with the quality and quantity of responses we have received from staff. As a result, I am happy to confirm that the autistic spectrum disorder teaching assistant team, which includes five members of staff, will remain in place.

'They add considerable value to the work of the county council, working closely with colleagues in health and children's services and offering guidance and advice to schools so they can support children and young people with autism.'

But the council said it was not yet ready to reveal any more decisions following the consultation and was still working with members of its learning support team, school and parent representatives 'on the wider outcomes' of the process.

A spokesman said it was not possible to speculate on whether or not other support workers would be made redundant.

When the authority revealed its plans at the end of 2011 to change the way SEN support was funded, concerns were raised that the quality of support given to children and their families could be hit.

But the county council hopes the new arrangement will enable teachers to intervene earlier, reduce the need for statements and help the county council cut the amount of money it spends on SEN support services by 41pc.

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