A school which helps students who are excluded from or cannot be taught in mainstream education is facing ‘scathing’ cuts to its budget.
The Grove Academy in Harrogate has set up a petition, with 800 signatures, to fight plans by North Yorkshire County Council which would cut the school’s budget by 83 per cent.
The Academy is a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) which helps students who have been or are facing permanent exclusion from a mainstream school, as well as accepting pupils who cannot be taught in a regular setting for other reasons.
But PRUs across North Yorkshire, including the Grove Academy is facing a proposal which would see the lion’s share of its budget re-allocated to new Local Education Partnerships (LEP).
The proposal is one of three in a consultation by NYCC in order to claw back a £5.5million overspend due to Government underfunding.
Head of English at the Grove Academy, Alex Boyce, said: “The council are proposing these cuts at the same time they want us to take more students, it just seems so counter intuitive.
“It’s only proposal 2 that we are really campaigning on. The council have changed their position on other things in the past so we are hopeful they will listen to what we are saying and reconsider. It’s a pretty scathing cut and it seems hard to justify.
“It’s the most needy, the most vulnerable and the most complex kids that need this support, who are going to fall off the edge because they are already on the margin of the community, nevermind the margin of education.”
Defending the position of the council, NYCC’s assistant director for inclusion, Jane le Sage said: “The LEP will be a constituted body in the locality made up of primary, secondary and post-16 leaders together with others.
"They will be allocated a sum of money and they can decide how that money is used to address the priorities and secure improvements that they identify within their area.
"If the LEP decided that they thought alternative provision or exclusion figures have to be a priority in their area then they could agree a proportion of that money could be used to help address those issues.
"One option could be that they come back to their local PRS.
“Our vision for North Yorkshire is that our children, wherever possible, are kept in their local school, because we do know that permanent exclusion has a negative impact in terms of educational outcomes and future options in life.
"I should also add that this is not a done deal. We will be taking into account the feedback from the consultation.”
The Grove Acadamy’s petition can be found by visiting change.org and search ‘save North Yorkshire’s PRS’