PARENTS, councillors and education unions descended on the Department of Education yesterday to demand that children with special needs are not left high and dry due to savage Tory cuts.
Six education unions: NEU, NAHT, GMB, Unison, Unite, ASCL joined the School Cuts coalition which demands proper funding of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). A petition signed by 36,000 people was handed in.
According to the Department for Education’s own figures, more than 2,000 children with special needs and disabilities in England are waiting for educational provision. Children needing SEND provision across the country are increasingly struggling to access the education they deserve. Real terms cuts to school and local authority budgets are hitting the most vulnerable pupils hardest.
The coalition said: ‘These children are already waiting for months for their needs to be assessed and then missing out again when funding is simply not there to meet the needs identified. ‘This is causing untold misery to the families of children with SEND and putting both schools and local authorities in an impossible position.’
The petition is calling on the government to: • Properly fund SEND in all schools/colleges, ensuring no child has to wait for a place in school. • Give funding back to local authorities so they can commission SEND support and services in line with what children in their community need.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young Peoples’ Board, said: ‘Councils also have grave concerns about the future of maintained nursery schools if the current funding does not continue beyond 2020.
‘This could have a detrimental impact on children with special educational needs, for whom maintained nurseries provide a lifeline of vital support.’