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Unitary to bring education services back in house

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Slough BC is set to bring education services back in house to protect child socal care services delivered by an independent trust.

Slough Children’s Services Trust took over the delivery of child protection from the council following an intervention by the government in 2014 following repeated failings identified by Ofsted.

The council had previously awarded a three-year contract to Cambridge Education worth £12.3m for the provision of education services, with the responsibilities due to transfer to the trust in October under a direction issued by former education secretary Nicky Morgan last year.

But a report due to go before cabinet today expressed concern about the short timescale for transferring education services, including the transition of a large workforce and “significant” budget responsibility, to the trust and added it might be difficult to ensure the proposed changes would not “inadvertently impact negatively” on the delivery of children’s social services.

As a result the council has proposed to take back responsibility for areas such as education support, children’s centres, early year’s service and school improvement while an agreement is reached with the trust on the long-term provision of the services.

Under the proposal, the services would be transferred back to the council by December. 

A council statement said the Department for Education had recognised “significant improvement” in the working relationship between the council and the trust, leading to the initial direction for the transfer of education services to the trust being revoked.

Sabia Hussain (Lab), Slough’s commissioner for education and children’s services, said the DfE’s decision to revoke the original direction was an “important vote of confidence in the council’s leadership”.

She added: “Even though there is much left to do, we have turned a corner and I am confident that by working in partnership with the trust we will once again deliver quality services that children and young people in Slough quite rightly deserve.”

 

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