COUNCIL bosses have defended proposals to overhaul alternative educational provision, stating the move would bring its funding of the service into line with the national average.

The financial justification for North Yorkshire County Council’s plan to cut £1.5m from its pupil referral services from April and focus on catering for special needs pupils at mainstream schools followed a challenge by Councillor Janet Jefferson, chair of the authority’s Young People Scrutiny Committee.

At a meeting of the council’s executive, the Independent member said: “If someone is excluded from a special school, where do they go? I know we’re trying to keep people in mainstream school, but sometimes it doesn’t work because they disrupt whole class or the school.”

Council corporate director Stuart Carlton said he believed it was “reasonable” the council reduce its traditional relatively high level of funding for alternative provision places to the national average cost of £18,000 per pupil.