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Trade unions hit out at Caerphilly Council’s home tuition service reform

Caerphilly County Borough Council offices (Pic: LDRS)

TRADE unions have hit out at new changes to home tuition in Caerphilly County Borough, arguing the move could “fail” pupils.

NASUWT and NEU Cymru both opposed the council bringing tuition under schools’ direct control.

But senior councillors have backed the move, claiming it is more “beneficial” for pupils to be in the classroom and will help them achieve better exam results.

Under the old system, the council employed a small pool of tutors to teach children at home who could not attend school for health reasons.

The new changes, however, mean each school will gain “direct control over decision-making, provision and funding for pupils”, to “ensure a consistent approach” to education across the borough.

During a consultation, tutors told the council they had “some concerns regarding change to working arrangements and expectations of the role”.

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The trade unions, in a joint letter to the council, said their members’ decisions to work for the home tuition service stemmed from them having “no desire to work in a school-based setting”, and from their aim of supporting pupils at home who were “unable or unwilling to attend” school.

Tutors also fear they could be “subsumed into the school and utilised as cover staff… regardless of their own workload”.

“The decision by the council to move these pupils – and therefore the staff – back into a school setting makes no sense, and we fear that it will fail those pupils who cannot or will not attend”, NEU senior officer Glesni Jones and NASUWT national executive member Mark Morris wrote in their joint letter.

At a recent cabinet meeting, members expressed surprise there had been opposition to the plan.

Deputy leader Jamie Pritchard noted last year’s exam results for pupils in home tuition was lower than for other children.

“I’d be concerned if we were to stick to a system of remote learning or education not in a school setting which appears on the face of it, in these cases, to not result in pupils achieving their full potential,” he told the meeting.

“I don’t think we should lose sight of the fact that being in education in a school setting is beneficial for the child,” Cllr Pritchard added.

“This is clearly the right way forward.”

Caerphilly Council’s education scrutiny committee noted the report and the cabinet’s decision at a meeting on Tuesday March 12.

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