Cambridge School Cuts

4 January 2011, 15:58 | Updated: 4 January 2011, 16:08

Big cuts could be made to a school in Cambridge, where young people with learning difficulties and medical needs are taught.

The number of teachers at The Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS) unit on Ascham Road could be cut to save money, which would mean fewer places for children.

It's because some schools in the area have decided that they are spending too much on the EOTAS service, and could do a better job themselves.

Currently 90 students are on the roll at EOTAS.

These cuts would reduce that number to around 20, with the remaining 70 transferred into mainstream education.

However, campaigners are worried on the impact the cuts could have on young people.

The Cambridgeshire Against The Cuts group says: "Many parents battled long and hard to get special provision exactly because mainstream schools had already failed them.

The changed will save money and will damage children.

These children deserve better."

The group has arranged a protest, outside the headquarters of Cambridgeshire County Council at the Shire Hall in Cambridge on Friday at 2pm.

Charlotte, who is 13, has an autistic spectrum disorder and is currently taught at EOTAS, agrees with the protesters.

She told Heart: "In a mainstream environment I had extreme anxiety, and the teachers at Ascham Road are able to help me and look after me on a day-to-day basis with those anxieties.

I never had that kind of support in mainstream"

A consultation, run by the County Council, has started into the proposed changes.

It runs until the 20th January.

In a statement, the authority said: ""The proposals came about after South Cambridgeshire schools decided they were spending too much on the EOTAS service and could do better themselves.

The ultimate aim of the consultation is to increase the inclusive nature of schools, so that as many pupils as possible can remain in mainstream schools.

But the quality of any service provided within the schools would be closely monitored.

The consultation lasts until January 20 and will involve meetings with all staff potentially affected, trade unions and professional organisations.

We welcome views from anyone who feels they might be affected."