THE concerns of families and schools of children and young people with special needs and disability have been given serious consideration as part of recommendations for reshaping their educational provision.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council’s executive are recommended to accept a range of proposals when they meet next Tuesday which will flesh out the council’s strategic plan in the best interests of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

These proposals include a revised model for alternative provision for pupils at risk of school exclusion as part of a plan which creates enough places to meet needs, more localised provision and a more inclusive mainstream culture.

However, after consultation with families, young people, schools, the pupil referral service and the wider public, the council has taken account of significant feedback and has recommended an extension to the timescale of changes.

County councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s executive member for education and skills. “Although the council is recommending that the executive goes ahead with the development of a more inclusive and flexible model of alternative provision for children and young people in a bid to stem permanent exclusions, it has proposed that implementation of the new model be put back to September 2020 rather than the original timescale of 2019.

“We believe this would reduce the impact of budget changes on the pupil referral service and create greater organisational stability until the new model is finalised.

“We are very grateful to anyone that came to an event or filled in the survey and gave their views during the consultation and we have listened carefully.

"This has helped us to make recommendations on how to use the high needs budget to the best possible affect in the future.

"Evidence shows that children and young people who are permanently excluded suffer in terms of educational outcomes and life chances.

"So wherever possible we believe they should remain within mainstream education, in their local school with the right support and curriculum to meet their needs”.

The council is recommending a phased reduction in discretionary funding to the pupil referral service by continuing to pay 50 per cent of current funding from April 2019 to September 2020.

This is an alternative method to removing discretionary funding completely by September 2019 as originally planned.