Following the meeting last week on Plymouth Studio School, Luke was asked a number of questions by parents and carers and promised to find out the answers.
Please find the list of questions and answers below:
- Q1: For young people without an Educational Care Plan but who have applied for one, can the process of assessment be accelerated so that their needs can be better understood and catered for in any new school?
Parents have a legal entitlement to up to 20 weeks so the Plan can be co-constructed and appropriate. The City Council have said that they can’t rush one through and expect it to be effective for the young person involved. All the young people for whom assessment is just beginning do not have to go through the general ‘Admissions door’. The City Council’s SEND team work with Admissions to keep abreast of where the Plan may be heading and the best school for the young person. Undergoing an assessment does not preclude going to a new school; the EHCP identifies the support the young person will need and the school are obliged, if at all possible, to provide that support. They receive additional funding to do so and in many cases we can direct them to admit a young person. The City Council have assured me that they won’t do so if it is not in the young person’s interests. The City Council believes that all children with SEND have been identified but if you are a parent of a child who is concerned about an assessment please let me or the City Council know.
- Q2: Are there any plans to offer Year 10 and Year 12 students who changes schools and face different courses support to catch up so they aren’t being left to fail?
The City Council have suggested this should be the case in their response to the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) and they are also planning to write to the Minister regarding this issue too. The catch up for pupils will be down to the receiving school in liaison with parents and pupils.
One of the things the RSC office and the City Council are discussing actively is the ‘lift and shift’ of pupils and staff where possible. The advice given by the City Council at the first three meetings for parents was that parents could wait before they left the Studio School and the City Council would coordinate a group move. A number of parents have chosen to seek a new school outside this. I believe there is a good case for additional support being given to young people who face a new syllabus or curriculum in a new school and will continue to press for this support to be provided.
- Q3: What plans are in place to protect the mental health of the students involved?
The City Council have offered support to anyone expressing the need for mental health support. They have also discussed with the new schools the support pupils may need where they have been informed of that move. Some pupils have clear and identified mental health needs and these are being addressed by health services and the Council’s educational psychology team. It is important to stress that the City Council can only assist if they are aware of the young person’s mental health needs.
- Q4: When will we know about whether interim funding can be offered for courses not replicated elsewhere in the city?
Good Question. The City Council and I have both written to the Minister involved asking for interim funding to support courses that are not replicated elsewhere in the city. We are awaiting for a response from Ministers and both the City Council and I will be pushing for this to happen. I have shared by letter with Johnny Mercer MP.
If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact Luke’s office on 01752 717255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org