ATL comment on provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disability

Press release
27 July 2017 by ATL Media Office
Alison Ryan, senior policy adviser at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), comments on the provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disability.

Today’s figures, on the provision for children and young people with special education needs and disability (SEND), raises difficult questions for the Government. With 15,000 more pupils identified with SEN than last year, inadequate school funding and savage cuts to local authority support services it is increasingly impossible for many schools to provide suitable learning environments and support for the most vulnerable pupils. This means the needs of some children are not being formally identified and others are not getting crucial support.

“High quality SEND provision comes at a cost, but this investment is repaid many times over when young people go on to live happy, fulfilled and independent adult lives. This Government has abandoned many children who require additional support, which has left schools and families struggling to pick up the pieces. Many parents find navigating the education, health and care plan (EHCP) application process too complex, confusing and takes far too long. We are concerned that many local authorities (LAs) will not make the 2018 conversion deadline.

“The growing trend for placing pupils with EHCPs in special schools over mainstream schools must be investigated. The school a child attends should be the best one for their situation. ATL is concerned that due to funding cuts, curriculum reform and staff shortages children are sometimes unable to stay in mainstream schools in which they could thrive with proper resources.

“We are alarmed by the rise in children “awaiting provision”. Department for Education figures released in May showed that 8,304* children were waiting at home for a suitable school place, which shows something has gone seriously wrong (*table 1 on main table https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statements-of-sen-and-ehc-plans-england-2017). We urge the Government to act swiftly to restore the necessary posers to LAs to that every child who needs a school place, gets one.”

ENDS

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