Special educational needs

Some councils’ school transport costs nearly as high as child social care | Education

Councils in England have warned that home-to-school transport, on which many children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) depend, is under threat because of “unsustainable” costs and insufficient funding. A report commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) and County Councils Network has revealed that councils are spending more on home-to-school transport than they spend on children’s centres, family support or youth services. In some areas where the costs of transport are disproportionately high, often because of long distances…

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Special needs children are being failed | Letters | Education

This is the most damning select committee report I’ve ever read (Children with special needs plunged into ‘nightmare of bureaucracy’, 23 October). Line after line, it shows that the education system for disabled children is completely broken. Parents are forced to become protesters, lawyers and bureaucrats to stand any sort of chance of getting the support their child is legally entitled to. The government now has a golden opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the system,…

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Special educational needs reforms ‘failing generation of children’ | Education

A cross-party committee of MPs has accused the government of failing a generation of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) in a damning new report which calls for radical change across the system. The report, by the education select committee, said ambitious government reforms, introduced in 2014 to improve the experiences of Send pupils and their families, had been poorly implemented with damaging consequences for many. Children had been left without the additional support they…

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Funding cuts take toll on support for visually impaired pupils | Education

Thousands of children and young people with vision impairment (VI) are being failed because of a shortage of funds for specialist education services, research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has found. Less than half (44%) of councils in England have either cut or frozen funding for educational support for VI children, putting specialist provision under significant pressure, according to the RNIB report. A similar proportion (43%) have already had reductions in specialist staff and increasing workloads…

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Pupils being propelled out of school system ‘in space of a day’ | Education

Pupils in England are being propelled out of schools and into home education, sometimes in the space of a single day, with little or no discussion beforehand and often without consulting the child, according a report by the schools watchdog. In some cases pupils are moved so quickly they are not even able to say goodbye to their friends. In other cases, parents complained that schools refused to allow children who were leaving to be educated at home to take…

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Families lose high court challenge over special needs funding | Education

Families who launched a landmark legal challenge to the government’s funding of services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) have lost their high court case. Three families, representing thousands of others across England, brought the action claiming that government budget decisions had left local authorities unable to fulfil their legal obligation to provide education to children with Send. A two-day hearing in June heard from lawyers representing the families that there was a substantial national shortfall in…

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Support for children with special educational needs ‘in crisis’ | Education

Services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are in crisis, with families experiencing delays of up to 90 weeks and complaints at record levels, according to the local government and social care ombudsman. Ombudsman Michael King said the number of complaints from frustrated parents had gone up by 45% over a two-year period to 2019. Most concerning, he said, was that nine out of 10 complaints (87%) were upheld in the families’ favour, with councils criticised for…

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‘Shameful rise’: 18% of children now leave school as low achievers | Education

The number of children leaving school without basic qualifications by the age of 18 has risen by nearly a quarter in the past three years, according to a report by the children’s commissioner for England. Almost one in five children (18%) left school last year without the government benchmark of five good GCSEs, or the equivalent technical qualifications, a 24% increase since 2015, the study found. The figures for children with special educational needs are particularly stark with almost half…

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Special needs pupils ‘less likely to go from school nursery into its reception’ | Education

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are significantly less likely to progress from a school’s nursery into its reception than their classmates who have no special needs, according to research. A study by the London School of Economics and Political Science found more than a quarter (26%) of children with a statement of Send move from the school where they attended nursery to another school for reception, compared with 18% of children with no recorded Send. The findings…

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Families rally against special educational needs funding cuts | Education

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities have staged protests across England against funding cuts. On Thursday afternoon, children, parents and teachers marched in 28 towns and cities including London, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham in the first national action of its kind. Organisers of Send National Crisis said about 1,000 people attended a rally in Parliament Square in Westminster. Among the speakers was the campaigner Emma Parker, whose son James has spent 29 months out…

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Pupils with special educational needs to stage funding protests | Education

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are to stage protests across England over funding cuts they say have left many pupils without adequate support and unable to attend school. Parents, disabled children and their supporters will march in more than 25 locations on Thursday, including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Widnes, Worthing, Stevenage, Leamington Spa, Matlock, Colchester and Dorchester. It is part of a campaign by families whose struggle to secure the support their children…

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Rise in special needs pupils forced to attend out-of-area schools | Education

Almost 20,000 children with special educational needs such as autism are attending school outside their council area because of shortfalls in local provision – with the number rising by nearly a fifth in two years, the Observer can reveal. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that some children are studying hundreds of miles from home as the special education needs and disability (Send) system struggles to cope with a funding crisis. Parents of children with Send are…

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Ofsted inspections find three Steiner schools to be inadequate | Education

The future of state-funded Steiner education has been thrown into doubt after a series of snap Ofsted inspections found that three of the four such schools set up under the Conservatives’ free schools programme were inadequate. The four have been inspected in recent weeks – alongside private Steiner schools, a number of which have also been found to be inadequate – following an intervention by the education secretary, Damian Hinds, over concerns about safeguarding. Ofsted reports for the Frome and…

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