Promise of a better service for children with additional support needs

Improvements have been promised to the assessment process when a child is showing signs of need for additional support.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 11:22 am
The absence of communication in the process is a concern parents have raised with Cllr Jackie McCamon, time and again.

Council officials have now provided assurances that the engagement process will be upgraded to offer a better service.

The promise comes after Jackie McCamon, councillor for Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, raised serious concerns over the current arrangements.

She told Dumfries and Galloway’s Education and Learning Committee that the assessment process remained a source of frustration for many parents and carers.

The Conservative councillor said: “One of the most significant issues brought to my attention time and time again by constituents is parents and carers’ frustration at the absence of communication in the assessment process.

“It is really disappointing that parents are left feeling this way.”

However, she praised council education staff for facing up to the many challenges thrown at them during the pandemic.

She told the committee: “There is no disputing the challenges the education team have faced during Covid and I absolutely recognise the tremendous job they have done and continue to do.

“But my understanding is that this was a big barrier prior to the pandemic.

"It is also important to highlight that the education team are not in denial that some work is needed in this area and I respect their honesty. However, these challenges simply cannot be to the detriment of our children’s well-being and education and that is exactly what a breakdown in communication can lead to.

Parents must feel like they are part of the team with their child’s schooling but, unfortunately, at this minute, there is a them-and-us feeling.”

Hew Smith, the Integration and Inclusion manager of education and learning, thanked the councillor for her input, so far.

He stressed that he would like to work with Councillor McCamon to drive the improvements forward in the coming months. The Councillor welcomed his invitation.

Constituents will continue to be kept updated by the councillor of any progress made.