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Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public



Andy Shallice referred to the question he raised at the meeting of this Committee held on 11th November 2017, together with the response from Pam Smith (Head of Primary and Targeted Intervention), and stated that, following the meeting, he had heard that the Children and Families Service was to end its dedicated resource (half a post) working closely with gypsy and traveller children, their families and the schools they attended.  He considered that this would end a long history in this City of recognising the particular needs of gypsy and traveller children, and the various difficulties and barriers they faced in securing good quality, continuous education.  He questioned whether Members could be secure that this decision had been made on the basis of sound educational principles, and knowledge/understanding of gypsy and traveller families, rather than because of the continual pressures of the budget. 




Councillor Jackie Drayton (Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families) stated that, whilst she was not aware of the original question raised at the meeting of the Committee on 11th November 2017, nor any decision made with regard to ending the dedicated resource for working with gypsy and traveller children, their families and the schools they attended, the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) was supported by the Dedicated Schools Grant and, as far as she understood, this Service would be continuing. 




Councillor Bob Pullin stated that he had been informed by the postholder that the post was to be deleted and, as a consequence, the postholder had been forced to cancel a conference which they were in the process of organising, at which Councillor Pullin had been asked to make a keynote speech.  Councillor Pullin expressed his concerns at this decision, indicating that Sheffield had a national reputation in terms of how it dealt and worked with gypsy and traveller children, and that, on the basis that there would always be gypsy and traveller children requiring assistance in terms of their education, this was likely to cause future problems for the Council.




The Chair stated that in the light of the issues raised as part of the question, and the concerns now expressed, Councillor Jackie Drayton be requested to investigate the assertions now made, and take any steps possible to reverse the decision, and provide a response to Mr Shallice, and the Committee, on her findings and any action taken.