West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2015-11-03
End date: 2015-12-14
Results: 2016-03-03

[ARCHIVED] Budget Proposal 2016/17 - Phase One: Pre-school Teacher Counselling Service

Part of the range of West Berkshire Council's budget proposals for 2016/17, with supporting information and Equality Impact Assessments

If you haven't already seen our video explaining why these changes are being proposed, please visit our Budget Proposals for 2016/17 - Phase One webpage.


The council provides support for children under five with significant special educational needs (SEN) through the Pre-school Teacher Counselling Service (PSTC). The service is staffed by qualified teachers who are early years and SEN specialists. Staff visit children in their homes on a regular basis in order to promote their educational development, model strategies and provide resources for parents to use with their children. They also assist with the transition to early years settings and schools, providing support and training for staff to help them meet the child's needs. PSTC also help to coordinate support the family is receiving from other professionals. The service is currently supporting approximately 108 children.


The current budget for the Pre-school Teacher Counselling Service is £167,000 which funds 3.3 teachers. We propose to reduce this budget by 50% from September 2016, and seek approval from the Schools Forum for the service to be 50% funded through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The DSG is grant funding allocated by central government to councils to specifically fund schools and associated services within schools.

What do we think the impact will be?

If 50% of the service can be funded from the DSG, there will be no impact. However, if 50% of the service cannot be funded from the DSG in 2016, (either because there isn't enough funding available, or because the Schools Forum doesn't agree to fund this service), the service will have to be reduced.

The reduction proposed may:

  • lead to increased waiting times for contact with a Pre-school Teacher Counsellor
  • reduce the amount of support children receive at home
  • reduce the amount of support which can be provided to pre-school settings and schools

This could impact negatively on a child's progress and development and on the ability of early years settings and schools to meet the needs of children with SEN effectively. It is possible that parents will seek statutory Education or Health and Care assessments earlier than they may otherwise have done, and/or specialist placements, which could increase expenditure in these areas.

What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

Other than using the DSG, there is no other option for reducing this expenditure.

This consultation is closed.

What you told us

We received 63 responses to this consultation.

We have condensed all your comments into the 'Summary of Responses' and everything you said, word for word, is contained in 'Verbatim Responses'.

These can be found in 'Documents' below.

What we did

A recommendation on how to proceed with this proposal was made to the Executive Members on  11 February 2016.

This can also be found below in 'Overview and Recommendation'.

 Following this, at the Full Council Meeting on 1 March 2016, all Members discussed this proposal as part of setting the Revenue Budget for 2016/17.

At the vote, the budget was agreed with the suggested amendments.

It was agreed to proceed with this proposal.

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