Friday, May 2, 2014
The Ipswich sixth form college at the centre of a heated row over plans for a three-day school week for students with learning disabilities may perform a dramatic U-turn, the Star has learnt.
One, formerly known as Suffolk One, has faced pressure to drop controversial plans of moving from a five-day school week for pupils with profound or moderate learning difficulties to a Monday to Wednesday timetable. Angry parents condemned the shake-up of the foundation learning courses, saying it will unfairly penalise vulnerable children.
The Scrivener Drive sixth form said it will match other post-16 colleges in providing foundation learning over three days when it comes into effect in September.
It said students with learning disabilities will still have a full-time education of more than 540 hours of teaching and support.
However, Ipswich Mencap branded additional claims from One that students with learning difficulties cannot cope with a Monday-to-Friday education because they find it too tiring as “a load of codswallop”.
And yesterday it was alleged the sixth form said in a letter sent to parents and carers of pupils enrolled on a foundation learning course this September that it will “take a fresh look at the options open to the college in the light of continuing significant funding challenges”.
A spokesman for One confirmed a letter had been sent to parents and carers informing them of a “further period of extensive consultation”.
“It confirms that we will be commencing a further period of extensive consultation where all those who have been sent this letter – along with other stakeholders – will have the opportunity to contribute to the consultation process,” he said.
“At the end of the consultation period in mid-June, One will collate all the information, discuss this with governors and stakeholders and announce the outcome of this further consultation.”
The spokesman did not comment on the allegation it was considering backtracking on the plans.
It is understood 14 parents have launched legal proceedings.
A spokesman for the group said: “As a group of parents we remain fully committed to ensuring that our children get a fair deal which ensures that they have equality of access to post sixteen education.
“We welcome the fact that a consultation and impact assessment will now take place, which is in keeping with the law.
“We are continuing to receive legal advice about the next steps in the journey to ensure that our children receive the education they are legally and morally entitled to.”