The Independent is reporting that dozens of councils across the country have called on the education secretary to urgently boost special needs funding as thousands of children have been left at home waiting for school places.
Parents have been forced to quit their jobs – and in some cases have waited for several years for a place in the right provision – to ensure their child with special needs is supported, experts say.
A letter – signed by 39 local authorities and education unions – calls for councils and schools to be given more money to make sure that children with SEND get the support they need. “We urge the government to act quickly on this matter,” the letter, which is addressed to Damian Hinds, says.
More than 2,000 children with complex needs have “no education provision at all” due to inadequate funding, according to the new letter – which is backed by some Conservative-led councils.
Jo-Ann D’Costa Manuel, director of charity Autism Parent Empower, said she knows of parents whose children have been at home for two years while they wait for the right specialist school place.
“When they are left at home on a waiting list, even if they are provided some help, they become wasted years,” she said. “It is hugely wasted time and opportunity for them to progress.”
And in other cases, parents have seen their children with SEND repeatedly being passed between mainstream schools because of funding and accountability pressures on staff, Andrew Baisley, from the National Education Union (NEU) said.
“I think it is harder to get kids into mainstream schools because there is a massive financial disincentive and there is an enormous accountability disincentive,”
Do you have or teach children with special needs? How has the lack of funding affected you? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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