THE number of pupils on part-time timetables has risen dramatically over the last year, but the council says this is due to a new recording system.

The information, revealed under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, shows the number of students going onto part-time timetables over the last four years with 134 in 2015/16, 150 in 2016/17, 155 in 2017/18 and 218 to date in 2018/19.

Part-time or reduced timetables are meant to be used as a short-term solution to improve things for a child and can be used as a way of managing a pupil's additional support needs.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “Pastoral Support Plans with reduced timetables increased in 2017/2018 due to the local authority introducing a recording and monitoring system across all schools.

“This process included educational advisory support for schools and the submission of all plans to the local authority.

“Pastoral support plans with reduced timetables are used predominantly as a short-term measure to support children and young people who are struggling with a full timetable due to mental health and anxiety, social, emotional and behaviour difficulties and medical conditions.

The FOI also revealed in 2017/18 11 students had been placed on a reduced timetable for more than a whole academic year and 48 had been placed because of risk of exclusion.

The spokesperson added: “Pastoral Support Plans are recommended under the Welsh Assembly Government guidance for ‘Exclusions for Schools and Pupil Referral Units’ as an alternative to exclusions.

“Exclusions are issued as a last option and schools are using Pastoral Support Plans to support the young persons as a proactive support tool, rather than using exclusions.”