PRESENS NUT Position Statement on BHCC LSS service redesign

A summary of what Brighton and Hove City Council has proposed in its Educational Psychology and Learning Support Service Consultation Paper (October 2015) in terms of its effect upon Brighton and Hove City Council’s Pre-School Special Educational Needs Service (PRESENS).

This is a summary of what was said to the assembled staff of all the Learning Support Services on 15th October 2015.  At this meeting the staff were not told to keep this information secret. The staff were told that this consultation was now in the public domain. This meeting was the start of a Statutory Consultation process. Representatives of all the staff teams’ Trades Unions were invited to this meeting and representatives from all the staff teams’ Trades Unions attended.

What is being proposed:
The PRESENS off-site team will be deleted from Brighton and Hove City Council’s structure, along with the other existing specialist learning support services.

  • All of the specialist teaching posts in the PRESENS off-site team will be deleted.
  • All of the nursery nurse posts in the PRESENS off-site team will be deleted.
  • A new generic Learning Support Service will be created, which will consist of SEN Specialist Advisers and SEN Specialist Assistant, amongst others.
  • The existing nursery nurses in the PRESENS off-site team will become SEN Specialist Assistants in the Learning and Communication strand of the redesigned Learning Support Service, but on less favorable terms and conditions of service (Soulbury Pay Scale) (with three years pay protection)
  • All the existing teachers in the PRESENS off-site team are now at risk of redundancy and will have the opportunity to apply for ring-fenced posts (SEN Specialist Advisers) in the Learning and Communication strand of the redesigned Learning Support Service on less favorable terms and conditions of service (Soulbury Pay Scale) (with three years pay protection).
  • The number of SEN Specialist Adviser posts in the Learning and Communication Strand of the new Learning Support Service is approximately 50% less than the number of teachers in the existing services that are ring-fenced to posts in the Learning and Communication strand of the new service.
  • When other factors are taken into account e.g. the number of teachers of the deaf and teachers of the visually impaired, that have to be employed by a Local Authority, and thus will have to be employed in the redesigned service, it is likely that the number of existing teachers in PRESENS that will be appointed to SEN Specialist Adviser posts in the Learning and Communication strand of the new Learning Support Service will be less than 50% of the existing number of pre-school teachers.
  • The new SEN Specialist Adviser posts in the new Learning Support Service will have generic job descriptions, requiring the post holders to work with children and young people from 0 to 25. i.e. at present there are no posts that are specifically designated as early years SEN advisers.
  • The SEN Specialist Advisers will have to work considerably more days across the year than previously, and they be required to work evenings and weekends when required. The SEN Specialist Advisers will be taken out of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and put into a pension scheme with poorer benefits.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s Pre-School Special Educational Needs Service’s National Union of Teachers members’ response to these proposals.

The cutting of the staffing complement of the PRESENS team; the disbanding of PRESENS as an entity, and the transfer of its staff to less favourable terms and conditions, completely contradicts Brighton and Hove City Council SEN partnership strategy for 2013-2017, which states:  

  • We will focus on early intervention and supporting mainstream educational environments to increase their skills and confidence in meeting the needs of young people with SEN;

Build on existing effective Early Years practice to ensure early assessment, intervention and preventative approaches benefit children with SEN before they reach school and over the transition into Reception; Continue reading

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Questions for the University of Brighton Academies Trust

In September’s announcement of another wave of free schools, there was no mention of the free school proposed for Brighton and Hove. The application comes from the University of Brighton Academies Trust (UoBAT), although the Trust claims that its application is made with the support of Brighton and Hove Council.

Whilst the school is described as a free school, it is in effect an academy which will be entirely run by the University Trust. As we wait to hear whether the trust’s application is successful, we have some questions about the role the Trust is seeking to adopt in the local education system. Continue reading