Job loss due to hard work

Coun Sarah Riding

Coun Sarah Riding

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SIX people have been made redundant following changes to school facilities for children in care homes.

Northern Care, which provides Fylde coast homes for children taken into care by councils, has said it has made the changes to offer the best services to children.

Many children who were previously schooled in small classes at their care homes have now been moved back into general schools.

Billy Grace, operations director at Northern Care, said: “Over time, as more of our young people have moved into mainstream schooling, the number being taught in our own education facilities has decreased. This is testament to the success and hard work of our staff.”

Northern Care’s five education facilities, at care homes across Blackpool, have now been merged into a single unit on the Fylde coast.

Where 11 children were on roll across five schools, there are now six children at the central facility.

Bosses said numbers were often kept low in the care home schools to allow children to study in mainstream schools alongside their peers.

Mr Grace added: “As a result of the centralisation of our educational facilities, five teachers and one teaching assistant have been made redundant.

“This includes four teachers and a teaching assistant in the Blackpool and Lancashire area. Any savings that can be made as a result of these changes will be passed on. All affected staff were offered redeployment opportunities but decided against it.”

Northern Care was started in Blackpool in 1999.

Bosses say the decisions for changes and the redundancies were taken with the best interests of the children in mind.

Mr Grace added: “Where we have closed schools, we have replaced them with education officers, whose role is to work with the community to support and source appropriate education provision.

“As a result of this, we are building strong links with schools and colleges and view this as a positive move in sourcing the most relevant and appropriate education for all the young people in our care.

“This also includes extra-curricular activities which will enhance their life chances and social and employability skills.”

All relevant councils and families have been informed of the changes.

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children’s services at Blackpool Council, said: “One of the things you always try to do with any children who are looked after is get them in mainstream school.

“One of the biggest problems is children in care don’t succeed to anywhere near the level other kids do, which is often to do with the fact they move around so much. For me the key thing is whether it’s the right thing for the child.

“Getting the right educational needs is critical.”