Impact of Powys Council cuts on autism services severe

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A parent and Assembly Member Simon Thomas has criticised Powys County Council for cuts to staff time at specialist units across the county.

The 23 specialist centres in Powys are staffed directly by the council rather than the schools but are hosted by them and work closely with them.

The teaching assistants are generally paid for 32.5 hours a week on the higher grade associated with special schools rather than mainstream education. The proposal is for a reduction to 30 hours.

Lisa Phillips, a mother of a child that goes to one of the units has warned if the plans go ahead it will impact on children who attend the specialist centres.

Lisa Phillips commented:

“The children will be affected by these proposals because before and after school, at lunchtime the support won’t be there. There is no mention from the council how it will ensure pupils receive the help they need.

“The council sees it all about efficiency savings and the high cost of the council as an employer. The council cabinet should think about investing in the citizens of the future.

“How do these reductions fit in with the Future Generations Act?  The act places a duty on the council to make Powys a better place to live in now and for people in the future.”

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas, who wrote to the council on behalf of his constituents said:

“Plaid Cymru has been contacted by a number of constituents concerned about the proposed changes to staffing hours at the Maesydderwen Unit in Ystradgynlais.

“The council needs to think again about the impact of the reduction of hours for teaching assistants at the specialist centres.

“The council has had a better than expected allocation of money compared with previous years. The deal Plaid Cymru made with the Welsh Government over the draft budget secured an extra £25m for local councils.”


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