Children and families with Special Educational Needs ("SEN") have been left without school placements, as highlighted in this article. Some parents have even had to quit their jobs in order to support their children at home, a trend which is worryingly common - home schooling SEN children because there is simply no alternative.
This serves to further highlight the difficulties that a number of families face when trying to support their children with SEN.
A letter has been signed by 39 local authorities and education unions which calls for councils and schools to be given more funds to make sure that children with SEN get the support they need.
Children have a right to suitable education and those with SEN should have their needs met. By identifying SEN earlier, providing support for children throughout their time in school, and delivering training for teachers and school staff, there would be less need for specialist school placements and less pressure on these already stretched resources.
Let's hope that the children awaiting places at schools get a suitable offer through soon and remember, there are often rights of appeal if parents consider that the matter is not resolved.
The number of youngsters with special educational needs, plans or statements has been rising – as has the demand for special school places. Meanwhile, funding pressures have made it harder for schools and local authorities to provide specialist provision to the most vulnerable learners. 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.”