Cuts to SEND proposed for Tower Hamlets

Stand Up for Jobs and Children’s Rights and Complete the Tower Hamlets SEND services Consultation

This Winter, Tower Hamlets Council is consulting to reduce the services offered to children with SEND. These children have probably been one of the groups most affected by lockdown with much of the support they would normally receive inaccessible. If you thought homeschooling your child was difficult, think about the parents who need support with basic communication skills like sign language.

Services to help children and parents learn to communicate with each other, to recommend adaptations for disabilities allowing disabled children to study in mainstream settings, and to support children with visual impairment and their support staff to use Braille to access the curriculum are all under threat. The council proposes to cut jobs in an already stretched service. Rather than directly helping children and families, the qualified teachers who remain in their roles, after the cuts, would be taken away from their casework with individual children. Instead, they would work almost exclusively as advisors to schools that are already over stretched and already struggling to meet the needs of the children in their care.

With these “savings”, the council are proposing to increase the amount of staff to assist with EHCPs (Education, Health and Care Plans) in order to speed up the process. However, with less support from specialist teachers for children who may not require an EHCP, the number of children applying for an EHCP will only increase. Thus creating a false economy while losing the invaluable experience of qualified teachers and causing a needless loss of jobs. A travesty during these most uncertain times.

You can read their proposals here.

Parents of children and professionals have come together in reaction to the consultation and the proposals with some concerns in response to each of the questions. Please read their objections. If you have some of your own objections please let us know in the comments below. As always, your personal experience and opinions are the most relevant responses to any consultation. However, families have also provided their answers in case you are struggling with your own.

You can complete the online consultation here.

Online Consultation Meetings

To attend one of the online consultation meetings email farhad.ahmed@towerhamlets.gov.uk  to register and say which meeting you want to attend. You will then be sent information to join using Microsoft Teams.

• Monday 23 November, 5pm-6pm
• Tuesday 24 November, 5pm-6pm
• Wednesday 25 November, 9am-10am
• Wednesday 16 December, 12noon-1pm