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Jobs fear due to Norfolk schools funding shake-up

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:58 14 December 2012

Learning Support staff at Norfolk County Council have been told some of them may be made redundant.

Learning Support staff at Norfolk County Council have been told some of them may be made redundant.

(c) Stockbyte

About 40 special educational needs teachers and support staff in Norfolk have been warned they could lose their jobs because of a shake-up in school funding.

It has emerged that staff in Norfolk County Council’s Learning Support Team, which has 39 full-time equivalent posts, were last month summoned to Dereham Football Club to be told that their jobs are on the line.

The reason why staff could be facing redundancy is because of a major change in the way funding for schools is distributed.

Rather than the county council being given the money and allocating it for special educational needs provision on a per pupil bases, the majority of school budget cash is to be given directly to the schools and that will change the way special educational needs funding is handled.

Recent consultation with schools has led to plans which will mean 75pc of the current funding - some £1.5m - will be delegated to clusters of schools from next September.

The county council will still keep about 25pc for specialist countywide functions and staff. That is for services such as undertaking assessments; for reviews helping to introduce schools, children and parents to new equipment, and to lead on development of best practice in supporting clusters in meeting the needs of pupils, with, for example, autistic spectrum disorder and dyslexia.

With schools getting more of their own funding, it will be up to them to decide how to spend it to buy in support for special educational needs youngsters.

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “As we explained to staff at the briefing, the decision to delegate funding to school clusters is likely to result in some compulsory redundancies.

“Adjustments to staffing levels and any redundancy process that may follow will take place in the spring and summer terms next year, following formal consultation with staff.”

But one staff member who contacted the Norwich Evening News anonymously, said they were worried the county council’s own staff retention would not be enough to maintain service standards.

However, Norfolk County Council said that was “inaccurate”.

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