Council pledges to keep pressing for funding

Families whose children attended the Studio School should not be out of pocket as they join new schools – that’s the view of the Council’s Cabinet member for Education, Jon Taylor who has promised to keep pressing the Department for Education for funding.

Cabinet member for Education, Skills and Transformation, Councillor Jon Taylor said the Council would keep up the pressure on the department to find the money to help families with uniform and transport costs if necessary. It follows the Government’s formal announcement after its ‘listening period’ that the school in Derriford will close its doors for good at the end of term.

He said: “The announcement will come as no surprise to the families and the young people who have been caught in this sorry situation. It has been far from ideal – particularly for young people who have been preparing to take exams.

“The Department for Education has so far not committed to providing financial support to the families affected by the closure. It is amazing how much money there was to spend when a shiny new school was in the offing – but how little there is now for the families who selected the unique offer of the Studio School.”

The Council is not involved in decisions around the closure of academies, but its Admission team have worked with parents and schools to find alternative places since the Trustees announced their intention to proceed with voluntary closure of the Studio School in April. A member of Council staff is currently acting as appoint of contact for all the families to ensure that any additional needs are known.

Councillor Taylor added: “I’d like to say thank you to the staff and pupils of the schools who have accepted young people from the Studio School. They have been nothing but supportive and accommodating and we are grateful that they have helped these young people continue their education in difficult circumstances.

“Switching schools – especially in the middle of term – is never easy, either for the schools, the pupils or their families.”

A number of young people have been identified with possible special educational needs and the Council has begun the process of assessing their need and levels of support.

Councillor Taylor wrote to the Department for Education to formally ask the Government provides financial support to prevent any further disadvantage or disruption at a critical point in these young people’s lives.At Full Council recently he announced that the Government had funded £301,000 to allocate to the 11 Plymouth schools that had agreed to take children from Studio School. This is not additional money but the money allocated to pupils to support their education.

He added: “We will continue to request there is adequate support for children who have transferred to other schools.”

The Council is in touch with families. If any family wishes to speak to the member of staff and has not yet  had recent contact ring 668000 and ask to be put through to Judith Harwood, the director of the service.