Too Little too Late for SEND Kids

Please sign this petition if you live or work in Tower Hamlets, share it with local friends and colleagues and join us for a public meeting on the 19th November

As education budgets are squeezed some of the most vulnerable children could be left behind. An emergency public meeting will take place at 7pm on Tuesday, 19th November at Oaklands School in Bethnal Green to oppose potentially devastating cuts threatening Tower Hamlets Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding.

All mothers have a hard time letting go of their children on the first day of school or nursery. Imagine your child has additional needs that you are deeply concerned about? Serious concerns around safety and inclusion become real risks as SEND budgets are cut. Those who follow Tower Hamlets Mums on Instagram will know that this may have an impact on my son’s education as he has dwarfism. While he is bright as a button he faces physical challenges that we’ve been told will not be covered by an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP). The Support for Learning service who are there for all children with SEND whether or not they receive an EHCP  is currently facing 40% cuts. They have played a key part in coordinating the equipment and adjustments he needs with the council, occupational therapists, the school’s SENCO and his teachers. They work with schools all over the borough, making visits, specialist training and recommendations based on the vast network of children and settings they provide support to. It allows them insight to rare conditions a teacher or school may not have had experience with. They are teachers themselves so understand the potential barriers to learning an occupational therapist might not. Without them the whole thing would be more scary to navigate than it already is. We are just one example and I am just one parent being helped by this vital service.

SEND cuts 2_edited twitter

In Tower Hamlets around 8,000 children and young people have been identified as having SEND. The wide range of needs that can impact learning includes physical disabilities, communication difficulties, sensory impairment, social, emotional, behavioural and mental health needs.

If they go ahead, the cuts in Tower Hamlets will fall across two crucial areas:

  • Up to 7% reduction in the ‘top up’ funding to schools to support pupils with Education Health and Care Plans. Around 37% of children with SEND in Tower Hamlets have these plans setting out the specialist care and level of funding the child needs.
  • A 40% cut to the Support for Learning Service and the Behaviour Support Team, trusted specialist teachers who support children and provide vital training to schools.

The crisis is not just affecting our borough. These damaging cuts result from Conservative government funding decisions, which have seen services slashed across the country. This is a national crisis that threatens to compromise the human rights of the country’s most vulnerable children.

Parents in other local authorities have had to resort to court action to protect their children’s rights to an appropriate education.

Shamed by recent campaigns, the government has offered a one-off payment of £7 million to Tower Hamlets, but this short-term gesture does nothing to secure the future of these life-changing services.

A sizeable majority – 63% – of Tower Hamlets schools say that drastic funding cuts to schools’ overall budgets have already eroded SEND provision. These new cuts, if implemented, will fundamentally undermine inclusive provision.

Alex Kenny, National Education Union’s District secretary for Tower Hamlets and the City said, ‘As usual, the most vulnerable will lose out’.

Rushanara Ali and NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney will be joined by Councillor Danny Hassell, Amanda Elliot from Hackney Special Education Crisis and student Iqbal Hasan to speak about the issue and take questions from parents, teachers and others affected by the cuts.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

When: Tuesday 19th November 2019 7pm

Where: Oaklands School, Old Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 6PR

The campaign, led by parents and teachers, is also running an online petition https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-up-and-fight-for-children-with-special-needs/

For more information contact SendCrisisTowerHamlets@gmail.com or go to Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SENDCrisisTowerHamlets or Twitter https://twitter.com/SendTower

 

 

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