GMB Calls for Immediate Stop to Proposals to Close Disabled Children's Service in East Sussex
We will stand shoulder to shoulder with all of our members, the parents and the children who desperately need this service to continue, says GMB Southern
GMB, the union for school support staff, has today (Friday 1 June) written again to the head of children’s services for East Sussex County Council calling for them to immediately stop the proposals to close the disabled children’s after school and holiday club provision.
The Council has just closed the public consultation into the closure of this service and launched the staff consultations on 23 May.
The council is proposing to close the after school and holiday club provision and make all staff redundant. The consultation proposes that the academies and schools where these groups are run will be given 18 months of funding and support to provide the service themselves instead of through the council.
Lib Whitfield, GMB Regional Organiser said:
"This is completely misleading, as at this time no formal proposals for alternative provision have been given to staff or parents and the council has stated there is no deadline for these plans to be put forward. Many parents and staff have already been told that if the schools provide any service at all it will not be as wide a service as is currently available.
"This means that under these proposals the highly experienced and dedicated staff whose commitment to the service has won the service awards for outstanding achievements will simply be made redundant at the end of the summer and all of their experience, skills and the supportive relationships they have built of a number of years will be lost. These staff are not being offered a transfer to a new service run by the schools as the council does not know at this time whether any or how much of a service will be provided in the future.
"According to East Sussex County Council, all parents with children who access the service were sent a letter alerting them to the consultation and inviting feedback through the consultation process. Many parents are still unaware of these proposals and the consultation and letter to parents is misleading at best. The consultation states that it is seeking ‘views on improvements to the current provision’ and that if the service is run by schools then ‘the clubs can continually improve’ and ‘services are future proofed to ensure continued delivery of the clubs in the long term’.
"This is completely misleading as at this time there are no formal proposals on the table to take over the service and informal information already suggests these will in no way be an improvement but a highly reduced and potentially costlier service for parents.
"GMB members and representatives were present at the public demonstration this month where parents, local councillors, the local MP and charities were all united in opposing this devastating cut to provision. Parents and children have nowhere else that can provide this service to their children with complex needs but these cries of outrage have so far fell on deaf ears at the council.
"GMB will stand shoulder to shoulder with all of our members, the parents and the children who desperately need this service to continue and will be working with local charity, Embrace, to fight this in every way possible.
"This consultation has been misleading and disingenuous since the start and GMB members are calling on these plans to be scrapped."
Contact: Lib Whitfield 07583 182 085 or GMB Southern Press Office 07970 114 762