Academies stymie council’s autism database

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First published in News

COUNCIL officials have been unable to put together a database of the number of Oxfordshire pupils on the autism spectrum who have been excluded from school.

They have been unable to get figures from Oxfordshire’s academies, which are independent of council control.

Oxfordshire County Council was hoping to put together the database so that it could work to reduce the number in future years.

But Alison Wallis, the county council’s performance and information manager, said: “It has been quite difficult to find a definitive list of children on the autistic spectrum.

“We were going to get it from the school census, but the Department for Education has said local authorities no longer have access to this.”

The issue has arisen because academies and free schools are independent of council control, meaning local authorities have less powers in relation to them.

Jim Leivers, the director of children’s services at the county council, said: “Government policy is that local authorities have an increasingly limited role in relation to the wider education agenda.”

The issue was discussed at yesterday’s meeting of the children and young people’s partnership board.

County councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, the cabinet member for public health, told the meeting that information held by school nurses could be used to retrieve the data.

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Comments (3)

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9:32am Fri 1 Aug 14

DoctorBob says...

So the creation of academies creates another issue. Blue sky thinking at it's best.
So the creation of academies creates another issue. Blue sky thinking at it's best. DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

11:25am Fri 1 Aug 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

So the local authority is unable to access data on vulnerable children who are currently outwith its responsibility...

Isn't that a good thing?
So the local authority is unable to access data on vulnerable children who are currently outwith its responsibility... Isn't that a good thing? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

11:38am Fri 1 Aug 14

Man on the Green says...

There is a worrying side to this, as Academies and Free Schools escape the accountability of Freedom of Information requests, which in the past have revealed misuse of funding intended for vulnerable children,clear breaches of the law on free school meal provision, school trips, residential stays, oversight arrangements and other fundamental issues around child protection and safety. The OCC was not at its best in dealing with such matters, but muddled through (as is their wont). But that was better than a blank refusal to be held to account for their spending of taxpayers' hard-earned cash... This is something that needs to be fixed.
There is a worrying side to this, as Academies and Free Schools escape the accountability of Freedom of Information requests, which in the past have revealed misuse of funding intended for vulnerable children,clear breaches of the law on free school meal provision, school trips, residential stays, oversight arrangements and other fundamental issues around child protection and safety. The OCC was not at its best in dealing with such matters, but muddled through (as is their wont). But that was better than a blank refusal to be held to account for their spending of taxpayers' hard-earned cash... This is something that needs to be fixed. Man on the Green
  • Score: 3

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