Save EOTAS Swansea

Invaluable support under threat

Report by Ronnie Job, Sec. Swansea Trades Council & Swansea Socialist Party

I attended a great meeting of Save EOTAS Swansea last night, taking greetings and messages of support from Swansea Trades Council.

There are many varied reasons why pupils might need the extra, specialist help provided by the EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) service. What was abundantly clear from the testimony of pupils and former pupils, together with their parents, last night is that the service provides invaluable support to those that need it. Time and again the meeting heard how pupils had been able to successfully complete their school-age education and progress to college only with the assistance of dedicated staff.

It's a shame and a scandal that City and County of Swansea officers and the councillors of the ruling Labour Group are either not listening or are ignoring the evidence of EOTA's success. They seem to determined to press ahead with cuts to the service which could see more than half the staff lose their jobs.

Staff, pupils and their families have been shabbily treated by the Council, which seems to repeatedly contradict itself, appears to have ridden rough-shod over the consultation process and has generally left both users and providers of the service in the dark about the exact nature of their proposals for cutting costs.

If Labour councillors and Council officers thought they would have an easy ride by targeting this relatively small group of staff as part of their plans to cut £24 million from education in Swansea over the next three years they were very much mistaken. Trade unionists have shown their determination to defend the service they are rightly proud of providing, by more than once taking strike action, the last time for three days.

Perhaps it's time to step up the political pressure on Labour councillors who make Tory cuts by threatening to stand no-cuts candidates from the campaign, against all those with a hand in making cuts in EOTAS, in the next council elections.

Ronnie Job

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