13 July 2010

Northamptonshire County Council has approved plans to change the way education is provided to teenagers at risk of exclusion from school.

A meeting of the council’s cabinet today (TUES 13 July) agreed to decommission the Springboard pupil referral unit and to give schools a greater role through attendance and behaviour partnerships in commissioning, delivering and managing services for disengaged students.

A report agreed by the cabinet recommended that transitional arrangements should be put in place for existing Year 10 pupils alongside the transfer of funding to existing school partnerships who will work together to design provision relevant to their own circumstances. This will ensure that those already embarked on the Springboard programme can complete it.

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We believe that services for young people who are disengaged or at risk of exclusion can be provided differently, in ways that are more relevant to schools and their communities and most importantly improve outcomes for students.

“Many of our secondary schools are driving forward new approaches in vocational education and can make a major contribution to this provision.

“We also need to secure better value for money at a time when the public sector is facing considerable financial challenges.”

Currently the county council, supported by investment from schools, operates the Springboard initiative for 14-16 year olds. While this has in the past provided many students with alternative provision to address their needs, the council hopes that a new approach will improve life chances for Northamptonshire teenagers and better prepare them for adulthood and the world of work.

The move towards area-based provision for emotional and behavioural support will build on the existing network of school partnerships that have been set up in the past year throughout Northamptonshire.