How Argyll & Bute Works: The ASN cuts

There has been a lot of misreporting of what really happened about the cuts to the Additional Support Needs (ASN) at Thursday’s council meeting.

As was widely expected, the council’s administration pulled the proposed 45% cut in ASN work from the Service Choices options. But, and this is the big but, they imposed an immediate full year cut of £280,000 on ASN work. In addition, this is not subject to any consultation. Worse, they have imposed this without having completed their review of ASN and they do not know what the impact will be. This £280k cut equates to 21 full time equivalent jobs.  This was described as “operational efficiencies”.

The SNP put up a motion proposing the same £280k cut but as part of Service Choices, ie this would be added to the public consultation.

The Reform Group comprising myself and Cllrs Marshall and Dance put up an amendment to remove the 45% cut and to defer any decision on ASN until the review was completed. Our amendment also wanted to see some reasons for what looks like an alarming rise in the number of children with hearing impairments. Cllrs Iain Angus MacDonald and Iain Maclean, both SNP councillors, supported our amendment and good on them for having done so.

Anyway, Cllr Walsh’s administration held the day yet again with not a single one of his troops voting against him. What loyalty they have but then they know that if they defy him, they will be in big trouble, losing their additional pay or by being thrown out of his administration.

It doesn’t get any better, yet.






  1. As a parent of two children with Additional Support Needs and an awareness campaigner for children with disabilities rights this saddens me terribly. In terms of the Education (ASL) Act 2004, 2009 these cuts are probably illegal. If ABC council has found away that allows this to happen without legal challenge it is certainly morally and ethically wrong. Currently there is not enough SEN classroom support. I know of no parents of children with ASN locally who are fully satisfied with the support available. There are many other tactics employed to avoid providing adequate support for children in this situation. Assessments take too long and continued periods of “assessment ” save the authorities from providing support. For a child however these periods are significant in terms of the period of their young lives they are at school. Very often this results in other problems like mental health and anxiety problems that can ruin a childhood. Children have to learn to cope without support and become withdrawn, depressed and anxious and families suffer from the “rebound ” affect when they return home after days where they have been overloaded to breaking point by simply trying to keep it together. The process of assessment is under resourced and often very difficult to engage with for stressed parents and carers and there are too many professionals “involved ” at great public cost. The process is slow and difficult and ultimately means we are failing children who have ASD, Aspergers’s, Tourette’s, Down’s and many other disabilities. Families are often living with the difficulties of these disabilities for years before official diagnosis and the chance to access some support. To even begin to talk about cutting these resources as they stand is quite simply an affront to our community and a bully boy tactic to hit the most vulnerable and voiceless.

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