Shropshire Star

Fears over finances at schools in Telford & Wrekin

Concerns have been raised that schools are being impacted by a mixture of financial pressures and a shortage of places for pupils with special educational needs.

Telford & Wrekin councillors have raised their concerns about schools in the borough.

Telford & Wrekin councillors have also expressed their concerns that teaching assistants were being stretched and that the education of pupils was being impacted.

Speaking at the council’s scrutiny management board councillor Janice Jones, representing Madeley and Sutton Hill, said that schools in the borough ‘are struggling’.

“There are financial difficulties I know that,” said cllr Jones. “There is a shortage of SEND places. Children are then placed in other schools and because of financial pressures schools struggle to support the child that should be supported, which is causing issues.

“It doesn’t just affect the SEND child but also the other children in that school. School finance in general is a real issue. It’s crippling schools and teachers have their hands tied behind their backs.

“We are failing the children. This is one thing we should be dealing with.”

School teacher and councillor for the Malinslee & Dawley Bank ward Elise Davies added that the transition from primary to secondary school was also an issue for pupils.

She said that there were occasions where teaching assistants were assigned to be one-to-one with a child but end up ‘looking after five or six students’.

The scrutiny management board chairman Derek White, councillor for the Madeley & Sutton Hill ward, said that one parent had asked him for support with their child.

He added: “One lady came to me crying because of the way her child had been treated.

“She was so upset and didn’t want to send her child to school. It’s not being handled properly. We don’t want children failed by the system going into adulthood.

“If we’ve got people in this room concerned then it’s clear that there is a problem.”

Cllr White said that while the scrutiny board had to be held in public the councillors should raise the concerns and get more information at private workshops with the council’s officers.

“If you have something to express concern about, deal with that in a workshop which aren’t in public,” he added. “I have got so much more information in those rather than having a big public meeting.

“The workshop system is far better for getting information.”