THE Craven Pupil Referral Service, in Skipton, looks to have kept threatened funding for a year following ‘significant feedback’ from families, schools and the wider public.

Staff, parents and supporters - including Skipton’s Mayor, Cllr Alan Hickman - reacted angrily last year when North Yorkshire County Council announced proposed cuts to its ‘High Needs Budget’, including the withdrawal of 50 per cent of funding to the county’s pupil referral service from September this year.

It was feared that the cuts would result in the loss of teachers at the school, which caters for young people with educational needs, or who have been excluded from mainstream education, and potentially the loss of premises themselves.

Skipton MP Julian Smith also expressed his concern, commenting to the council that whereas he accepted changes were needed, he believed they were being brought in too quickly for the school to make alternative arrangements.

On Tuesday, the council’s Executive is being recommended to delay withdrawal of funding to the pupil referral service, which in addition to the Skipton school, also includes six other centres across the county, for a year, until September, 2020.

Members, meeting in Northallerton, will also be recommended to accept a range of other proposals for its strategic plan in the best interests of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

They include a revised model for alternative provision for pupils at risk of school exclusion as part of a plan which creates enough places to meet needs,

more localised provision and a more inclusive mainstream culture.

Councillor Patrick Mulligan, member for education and skills, said the council had listened carefully to ‘significant’ concerns about cuts to the PRS budget.

“Although the council is recommending that the Executive goes ahead with the development of a more inclusive and flexible model of alternative provision for children and young people in a bid to stem permanent exclusions, it has proposed that implementation of the new model be put back to September 2020 rather than the original timescale of 2019.

“We believe this would reduce the impact of budget changes on the pupil referral service and create greater organisational stability until the new model is finalised,” he said.