Council Recommends 44% Cut in the Places and £370,000 Savings in Support to Young People Disengaged from Full-Time Secondary School

Castle Park Education Centre in Dundee Threatened with Closure
Castlepark Centre in Dundee
Identified for Closure
On Monday the council published their report following their consultation on the proposed merger and downsizing of the Balerno, Connect Five and Castle Park Education Centres in Dundee. 

These three centres work with S1-4 pupils with complex 'social, emotional and behavioural' needs who have disengaged from full-time mainstream education. One of the main aims of the service is to provide support to maintain these young people within the city.

This report concludes that the Council should merge these three centres into one and places reduced by 44%. £510,000 savings should be taken from the work of these pupils and only £140,000 of the 'savings' reinvested in our secondary schools.

I have never been against the idea of finding better premises for these Education Centres two of which are based in buildings previously identified for closure. It is also clearly constructive to review how support for these troubled young people might be improved. Despite all the warm words in the Council's Report, it is difficult to believe that support for these pupils and their schools will be improved if overall resources are so drastically reduced. Most of the saving is coming from reductions in the highly skilled staff who currently work in these three Education Centres. Putting the job of working with these pupils back with our secondary schools is hardly a recipe for success. I am worried that if the resources of our existing secondary school staff are reprioritised for those disengaged from school, other secondary pupils will miss out on their entitlement to support for learning and guidance.

While the Executive Director of Children and Families' Service has provided more elaboration of how he thinks this will work, there are still many questions to be answered.

The Education Convener, Councillor Stewart Hunter, needs to tell us why he supports the reduction in cash for some of the most vulnerable young people in our city?

This is another example of how services for children's services in Dundee are being reduced by cuts passed on by the Holyrood Government; another short term cut which will cause long term damage.

Read or Download the Consultation Report