Home tuition for looked after children in Swansea to be suspended
Looked after children in Swansea are to lose their home tuition for the rest of the year, because of funding cuts.
Tutors who provide home tuition for looked after children - those in care or looked after by the Council - were sent letters by the Swansea Council earlier this month, informing them that the service would no longer continue this financial year, due to budgetary constraints.
Young people affected by the move were also contacted directly.
The letter informed tutors the authority would “hopefully” re-commence funding for the service in March next year.
The move, so early in the academic year, has prompted calls for Welsh education minister Huw Lewis to enter discussion with Swansea Council to ensure looked after children continue to receive tuition.
Bethan Jenkins AM said: “Tuition has just been suspended barely a few weeks into the new school year.
“The letter from the council to the tutors states that they ‘hope’ to reinstate this provision in March 2014, but there is no guarantee of this.
“All tutors received a copy of the letter informing them of the suspension, and are very worried about how this will affect the children in question, as well as their own situations as tutors this sector.
“If education is a priority for the Welsh Government, especially helping the most vulnerable in society, then such cuts are unacceptable in my opinion.”
A spokesman for Swansea Council said: “Our programme of support for looked after children has been very successful. This query relates to specific grant funding from WAG which we have used to fund additional educational support in the evenings for some looked after children as part of a range of educational support and for higher education bursaries for young people leaving care. The demand for these bursaries in Swansea has increased recently which has led to the change in the use of the grant.
“Schools continue to support looked after children and we are continuing to provide extra support through a range of other schemes such as additional study resources, a mentoring project worker and reward vouchers for success in external examinations.
“We have to provide education for children not able to attend mainstream school in certain circumstances such as long term sickness and we are continuing to do that.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson added:
“Local authorities have a legal duty to provide a suitable education to school age children, regardless of where they are educated. We provide additional funding through the pupil deprivation grant and the school effectiveness grant specifically to help improve the educational outcomes of looked after children. Officials are currently considering how we can improve the impact of LAC funding in the future.”