The special needs crisis is national scandal hurting the most vulnerable

Janet Downs's picture


Ofsted’s Annual Report ‘highlighted a catalogue of failures’ around provision for pupils with special education need and disabilities (SEND), writes Lauran Doak, in the Nottingham Institute of Education blog

This will not be news for those working with SEND children and families fighting to get their children the support they need, Doak writes.  

Doak asks if the SEND crisis is a ‘national scandal’.  Her blog describes how promises outlined in The Children & Families Act 2014 have not been universally kept. 

The Act’s framework was welcome: extending provision until young adulthood; combining health, education and social care needs; adaptable funding on a ‘needs-led basis’.

But implementing the framework between the passing of the Act and this year has been ‘deeply problematic’.  Over half of areas checked in Local SEND Area Inspections since 2016 had ‘serious failings in the implementation of the new framework’. 

Raised parental expectations combined with ‘relentless cuts to school and Local Authority budgets as well as health and social care’ has caused a ‘perfect storm,’ Doak writes.  And this perfect storm rains hardest on our most vulnerable children – those with SEND.  This is evidenced, Doak says, in episode four of the BBC 2 documentary School*:

‘…abstract discussions about SEND funding play out with real implications in the everyday lives of children, young people, parents, and the school staff who support them.’




*Twenty days left to watch at time of writing.  

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John Mountford's picture
Sun, 09/12/2018 - 17:42

The assault on public services for children, especially those most in need, that came about because of reforms to local authorities, is now producing the casualties many commentators knew at the time would result. In combining social services and education at the local level, to create Children's Services it has proved costly in both financial and human terms. This is what happens when transient players in democratic life (elected MPs being of special note) act out in response to their political ideologies and fail to note the views of those consulted whose intertests in reform are for the long-term benefit of the most people. 

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