Support services to move despite protests?

Cllrs Tom Adams and Jim Young at a protest at Mountfleurie Primary School in February. Pic George McLuskie.
Cllrs Tom Adams and Jim Young at a protest at Mountfleurie Primary School in February. Pic George McLuskie.

A former councillor has blasted Fife Council for “betraying” parents after an apparent U-turn on promises to save support services in Leven.

Speech and language staff at Mountfleurie Primary School have recently learned they will be redeployed to Glenrothes – despite Tom Adams claiming he was assured by Fife Council no changes would be made in the foreseeable future.

He said: “I was told in April that the service would not close unless by agreement with the parents.

“If the council was to do anything, there would be negotiation first and it admitted that communication with parents in the past was awful.”

“It has broken its promise, and it’s totally disrespectful to parents and to me.”

The service currently sees local children taxied to Mountfleurie up to three days a week for specialist support services.

Earlier this year, Fife Council planned to replace the existing service with an outreach model, which would see support staff help children within mainstream education.

Protests by local parents and Tom Adams halted the move.

A council spokesman confirmed talks had taken place with staff to inform them that when services change “at some point” they will be based at Rothesay House in Glenrothes, but staff would rarely be there.

Campaigning parent Lyndsay French said recent developments had left her feeling “gutted” and, contrary to what Fife Council claimed, parents were not being properly consulted.

She added: “How could the council do this? This affects children’s lives – it’s their prospects that is being put on the line.”

Teaching union EIS said unions should haven been informed.

David Farmer said: “We recieved verbal assurances that the service would be re-examined and there wouldn’t be change to speech and language services at Mountfleurie.

“It seems that the council said one thing and pretty soon after did something completely different. And why is it doing it? I suspect the reason is money.”

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services, said: “We have been and are continuing to have discussions, on an individual basis, with families and staff who are involved with the service.

“We are continuing to do exactly what we committed to do.

“It has been agreed that the decision to further develop the outreach approach for children attending Mountfleurie Primary School Speech and Language provision will take longer than the original timescales suggested. There’s no decision to remove existing provision by January 2018.

Cllr Colin Davidson has requested a meeting with all parties, council, unions and parents to see what the Mountfleurie service will “look like in the months and years ahead.”