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Ipswich: Students with learning difficulties have classes cut and 13 jobs under threat at One sixth form

12:00 09 March 2014

One, in Ipswich, has revealed plans to cut foundation learning courses from five days a week to three. The move, to take effect in September, puts the positions of up to 13 full-time members of staff at risk, One principal Alan Whittaker admitted.

One, in Ipswich, has revealed plans to cut foundation learning courses from five days a week to three. The move, to take effect in September, puts the positions of up to 13 full-time members of staff at risk, One principal Alan Whittaker admitted.

Archant

Students with learning difficulties will see their teaching time cut by almost a half and up to 13 full-time staff members could lose their job at a Suffolk sixth form.

One, in Ipswich, which was formerly known as Suffolk One, has revealed plans to cut foundation learning courses, designed for students with “profound through to moderate learning difficulties”, from five days a week to three.

The move, to take effect in September, puts the positions of up to 13 full-time members of staff “at risk”, One principal Alan Whittaker admitted.

However, he defended the decision by claiming the college will now match other post-16 colleges in providing foundation learning over three days.

He said: “Since opening in September 2010, we have been the only post-16 provider in Suffolk to offer foundation learning courses over five days a week.

“This has proved unsustainable as a business model and is not educationally appropriate for this group of students.

“Therefore, as from the start of the next academic year, this provision will be reduced to a three-day offer.”

He added: “Naturally we would like to assure all those involved that we will be supporting them during this process and will be doing all we can to ensure that lessons and college life is not disrupted during this period.”

A spokesman for the Scrivener Drive college said despite the change, no foundation learning courses would be removed from the syllabus.

They include independence skills, performing arts, personal and social development and employability. Other subjects include science, media and food studies. The move will affect all 11 foundation learning courses.

Mr Whittaker added: “I remain fully confident that the standard of provision for foundation learning students will continue to result in excellent student outcomes.”

12 comments

  • From what I have heard there is also a larger background to this story. Recently several 6th forms in special schools in Suffolk were recently closed and parents of children were told that their children would move to Suffolk One to complete their education. They were promised that this would be for 5 days per week, in line with what their children would have received if the special school 6th forms had remained open. Parents are now being informed that the courses at Suffolk One will only be taught over 3 days, leaving parents and learners with very few options about further education. I would recommend that parents now look at out of county provisions an name those in their children's statements instead of accepting a place at Suffolk One if they are unhappy with the proposal of a 3 day week. The truth is that the special 6th forms should probably never have been closed in the first place. This is all part of a much wider problem with SEN education in Suffolk. Many children and families affected by SEN are being badly failed by the authorities. We have two groups on Facebook called the 'Autism Action Group Suffolk' and 'Special Needs Suffolk -Uncut' where parents and carers of people with Autism or other SEN can talk to other parents about the problems they are facing and gain support from people who have been through similar situations themselves.

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    Leah Margiotta

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Hardly surprising, then, that Suffolk appears rather low down the tables for educational achievement at all levels, if this is the kind of answer to raising standards. More driving down than driving up, as usual.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Young people with Special Educational Needs are not a homogeneous group, therefore it is inappropriate for Mr Whittaker to state that a five day a week course "is not educationally appropriate for this group". Post-16 education for young people without SEN allows for choice including options for 3,4 or 5 day a week courses. These choices should be available to all. By limiting the choices of only those students with Special Educational Needs SCC appears to be acting in a manner that is discriminatory. Indeed, some young people with SEN require more not less good quality educational input than those without SEN. All young people require appropriate education; sadly SCC is failing many of them.

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    nickyshopper

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • To take away from youngsters who face an uphill battle in life is the lowest you can get. Large pigs get first to the trough, the idea in a democracy is to see society stands up for those who can't get to the trough before all is gone. Ok if you are an Immigrant it seems.

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    a west

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • To take away from youngsters who face an uphill battle in life is the lowest you can get. Large pigs get first to the trough, the idea in a democracy is to see society stands up for those who can't get to the trough before all is gone. Ok if you are an Immigrant it seems.

    Report this comment

    a west

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Same old story, those with the greatest needs bear the brunt of financial cutbacks.

    Report this comment

    Linnet

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Thanks for the info Leah. If true, and I am not doubting you, that's rather shocking. Education in Suffolk does seem to be in a bit of a crisis.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Student with and without SEN are all suffering from budget cuts which are choking schools to breaking point. Michael Gove is a monster and doesn't care about SEN - he feels that students wouldn't cope in the working world so the playing field should be left uneven.

    Report this comment

    IpswichResident

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • "This has proved unsustainable as a business model." Says it all doesn't it.

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    dbr

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Wake up people, the education secretary, Michael Gove doesn't care about SEN, he has made changes which disadvantage those with educational needs. He has stated frequently that if they need help to do their qualifications then they aren't going to be worthwhile employing in the workplace. If the guy running education in the country couldn't give a d**m about this then it's hard to blame those that he govern for following suit. I personally think that those with SEN should be given every opportunity to level up the playing field in order to reach their potential. Students without educational needs are suffering from the cutbacks as well it should be noted. Schools are being choked by budget cuts, which aren't even being publicised in the media, it's scandelous.

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    IpswichResident

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • You wouldn't believe how bad the problems are with SEN in Suffolk Esco. I know of children who have been out of school for up to two years without suitable full time education provision being made for them. Some have absolutely no education for the whole time they are out of school. SEN children are being illegally excluded from schools. Parents are forced to go to tribunal, often costing them thousands of pounds, just to get the authorities to make the educational provision they need and are legally entitled to. I know education in Suffolk in General is bad but someone should really look into what is happening to the most vulnerable SEN children and their families as it is beyond scandalous.

    Report this comment

    Leah Margiotta

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

  • Enigma

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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