Additional Support Needs (ASN) Interim Update
26th February 2020
An interim update on the development of a new model to assess needs and allocate resource for Additional Support Needs will be reported to the Council's Education Committee on Thursday.
The work being carried out is to ensure the Council has a delivery model in place which is agile and flexible to meeting the needs of young people and provides stability for staff.
The approach to meeting the needs of children and young people with ASN is a significant element of the Council's inclusion agenda, enabling young people to remain in their communities and access mainstream education.
The interim report reflects engagement with key stakeholders and concerns and questions will now shape the thinking going forward. Engagement on the allocation model has revealed that there is considerable bureaucracy involved in assessments. The recognition of wellbeing and inclusion are key factors to be taken into account.
Savings approved by The Highland Council in February 2019 for 19/20 have been made with further future savings due, as agreed in 2019. It is recognised through the engagement process, that more time is needed to implement the changes required and put in place appropriate training and support for staff. Plans are also underway to develop enhanced mental health and counselling resources in schools.
The new assessment model will be developed over the coming weeks and presented to committee in May for approval prior to implementation for the school year 2020-21.
Chair of the Education Committee, Councillor John Finlayson said:
"Whatever model we agree has to support children, families and schools and there needs to be recognition that while a consistent and fair approach must be implemented across Highland, we must also build in flexibility and contingency to ensure we can meet needs when things change at local level or additional support is required. Our response to ASN has to be needs led and must include input and ongoing evaluation involving all stakeholders, demonstrating improvement in attainment for all our young people."
The papers for the Additional support needs to be discussed at the Education committee on 27 February 2020 can be found at https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4212/education_committee
Highland Action Group For ASN and Education
Highland Council Parent Partnership
Focus Group on ASN 20 January 2020
From Monday, a number of changes have been made in line with national guidance, to how we collect waste in order to protect staff, during the Coronavirus emergency. To protect our staff, and prevent the spread of Coronavirus on our waste collection routes we have improved social distancing measures in line with guidance and in discussion with union reps.
Highland Council will continue to provide school meals through e-vouchers to families throughout the school Easter break. This is to recognise the particular difficulties many families will be experiencing due to the Coronavirus emergency.
Learning and childcare hubs for the children of key workers will remain open across Scotland over the Easter holidays. The move will help support key workers in the NHS and other key sectors on the frontline of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Highland Council is working hard to release business grants to eligible local businesses as quickly as possible. The Council has received over 2,000 applications since the scheme was introduced last week and has set up systems to process these applications quickly while ensuring the necessary information is received.
Since The Highland Council's dedicated helpline went live last Wednesday afternoon staff have dealt with over 1,600 calls. The helpline has been set to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support.
Council tax payers in Highland who have lost their jobs or are experiencing a drop in their income are being encouraged to apply as quickly as possible for a reduction in their council tax. This help, known as the ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme', is available for lower income households, including home owners.
Around 19,000 business rate payers in Highland will not receive their annual rates bill this April. The Highland Council recognises the exceptional economic challenges for local business and has therefore decided to pause business rates bills in respect of financial year 2020/21.
What is 'shielding'? If you fall within one of the groups recommended to shield, you will have received a letter or text from the NHS. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising contact between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
During this time of restrictions it is important that we all stay active, for our physical health and mental well being. Recreation outside is an important element of this, but it is essential that each of us practice good social distancing while outside.
The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19. The single line number - 0300 303 1362 - will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
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