Labour councillors have submitted a Member’s Item to the new Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee (CELS) calling for an update report on the cuts to short breaks schemes for children with disabilities and complex needs attending local schools and organisations including MapledownSchool and OakleighSchool. The Member’s Item was submitted after the Conservative administration failed to bring a report on the issue to the new committee despite a promise from Council Leader Richard Cornelius before the local elections to do so.
The Member’s Item from Cllr Agnes Slocombe asks “That an update be provided on funding of short breaks to organisations in Barnet and pupils at special schools including MapledownSchool and OakleighSchool with a view to reversing the cuts imposed.”
Following resident outrage the Conservatives granted a year long ‘stay of execution’ for the cut of £45k imposed on Mapledown School, but other organisations, including Oakleigh School, are still waiting to hear whether their funding will be cut.
Labour’s Education Spokesperson Cllr Anne Hutton said: “The Tories promised to put this on the agenda of this committee after the elections, but have completely failed to keep that promise. Some of the cuts will affect summer schemes so bringing it to a later meeting doesn’t help organisations plan their activities – it’s as if the Tories just don’t care! If we hadn’t submitted our item the parents and children affected would not have a chance to come and hear what’s going to happen.”
The CELS committee meets on Monday 23 June. The deadline for submitting public questions and comments is 10am on the second working day before the meeting – Thursday 19 June. The next meeting of the CELS committee is not until 29 July - after the end of the summer school term.