Ipswich: Relief as sixth form centre announces u-turn on decision to cut classroom time for foundation learning courses
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:58 27 August 2014
An Ipswich sixth form centre which was set to cut the teaching time of students with learning difficulties almost in half has made a u-turn on the decision, following pressure from parents and community leaders.
The news One, formerly known as Suffolk One, will continue to offer a five-day provision for foundation learning courses, has been deemed a big benefit to young people.
Officials from the Scrivener Drive college have admitted the decision will mean they incur additional costs, but that they believe it will be in the “best interests of students”.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “I am delighted. It has taken a lot of hard work by a number of people to get to this situation. I was pleased to be able to tell the parents last week that we had got a resolution.
“I would have preferred it if they had not been put through the worry and concern but I am glad that between us we have managed to find a resolution.”
Foundation courses include independence skills, performing arts, personal and social development and employability. Other subjects include science, media and food studies.
A group of parents which hit out at the proposals have welcomed the move, but in a statement, they added: “Sadly the decision has been made so near to the start of term that several parents have already had to hand in their notice or reduce their hours to part time at their places of work so many families will still be very hard hit financially by the proposal to cut our children’s education by nearly half.
“However, it is time to look forward and to work together with Suffolk One and the local authority in a positive way to achieve the best outcome we can for our children.
“We would like to thank everyone who worked so hard on our children’s behalf particularly Ben Gummer MP, Therese Coffey MP and our legal team.”
One and Suffolk County Council have been among the organisations which have, during the summer, been discussing how to support students on foundation learning courses.
As a result of the talks, a three day provision will start in September and five days from October 6, allowing new staff to be recruited.
Vice Principal, Jenny Milsom, added: “The five day provision will be for the academic year 2014/15, finishing on 10 July 2015.”
“Thereafter, One will be in line with other Post-16 providers in offering three day provision which will be part of the Suffolk County Council ‘Local Offer’.
“In coming to this decision, One will incur significant additional costs which will add further to our deficit, however, we have taken this decision in the best interests of our students.”
Sue Cook, Suffolk County Council’s director for children and young people, said: “We’ve been working closely with One to find a way to enable young people due to enrol on the Foundation Learning programme in September 2014 to access a programme over five days.
“As a result of this work an agreement has been reached that will make a programme available for all students with Special Educational Needs attending the Foundation Learning Programme at One.
“We want to ensure those benefitting from this programme continue to receive the very best educational support that can be offered, Suffolk County Council and One will work with the young people, their parents or carers and a range of other post-16 providers to ensure that an appropriate long term local offer is in place well in advance of September 2015.”