An East Sussex county councillor has explained his decision to shut down after school and holiday clubs for children with disabilities and special needs across East Sussex.
At a meeting on Monday (July 16), East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education and inclusion Bob Standley approved the closure of the authority’s After School Clubs and Holiday Play Schemes.
The decision was met with outrage by parents who had been campaigning against it, saying the county council has ‘failed to protect the most vuilnerable’.
Responding, Councillor Standley said in a statement, “I took the decision yesterday that after school and holiday clubs, currently provided by the council’s Children’s Disability Service, will be provided instead by the special schools themselves.
“With the increasing financial pressure on the local authority, the intention is that the service will be far more sustainable and tailored to the needs of the children attending each club.”
The county council says cuts in Government funding mean the authority has had to make £110 million of savings since the start of the decade and a further £17 million this financial year.
Councillor Standley said, “Officers had recommended that the council support the schools with transition funding for a period of 18 months to allow time for a tailored service to be fully developed and become self-sustaining.
“I extended this offer to 24 months to give the schools even more time to establish their individual service.
“While funding for after school and holiday clubs is not something we have a statutory duty to provide, we do understand the importance of this service to parents and carers.
“We have been working with the special schools affected by this change for some time, and will continue to do so to ensure that every possible alternative funding stream open to them is explored, and that the correct provision is in place for the families who need it.”