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Plans to offer a seventh year at secondary school to S6 pupils in Argyll and Bute with additional support needs have won the approval of councillors.
A report suggesting that the offer could be made on a one-off basis due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic was unanimously backed by the council’s community services committee.
The option was proposed to be made available to 11 young people across the area – at least two in each of the four administrative areas of the council.
It is estimated that an additional 140 hours of support staff time per week would be needed, costing the council £85,540, if all 11 pupils took up the option.
The community services committee held its meeting virtually on Thursday, March 11.
Helensburgh Central SNP councillor Lorna Douglas said: ‘I think this is an inspiring idea. It is absolutely brilliant.
‘It ensures a much smoother transition into adulthood than what has gone before and I absolutely back the recommendation.’
Oban North and Lorn independent councillor Kieron Green, chairing the meeting in the absence of Cowal Conservative councillor Yvonne McNeilly, also backed the recommendation.
He said: ‘I am sure you are not the only one with those thoughts. It is a great idea to recognise that this hasn’t happened in living memory for most people.’
The committee then unanimously agreed to the recommendations.
Council executive director Douglas Hendry had previously said in a report: ‘The Covid-19 global pandemic will have implications for many children and young people’s wellbeing and achievement.
‘To ensure equity, careful consideration requires to be given to our most vulnerable children and young people.
‘For those with complex needs and a disability making the transition from school to their adult lives is already a very challenging and anxious time for them and their families.
‘It is important that across services steps are taken to reduce the chance of young people being disadvantaged further. It is therefore asked that the recommendation is considered and agreed.’
Caption: Councillor Kieron Green has supported plans for a seventh High School year for pupils needing extra support because of the Covid pandemic