Driver Youth Trust’s Chief Executive Chris Rossiter blogs about why DYT signed a letter with members of the Special Educational Consortium to call for an increase to the high needs budget. The letter appeared in the Daily Mirror and a full campaign is being led by the NAHT Union.
The hardships young people and their families face in relation to funding support for special educational needs is sadly an all too familiar reality.
Parents, teachers and local authorities have all highlighted the difficulties they are facing in accessing or providing what our young people with SEN are legally entitled to. Stories of parents re-mortgaging their homes and spending tens of thousands of pounds of their own money, just for their child to be educated, is something we should all be deeply concerned about.
Parents have been at the forefront of this fight and Special Needs Jungle has a host of resources to help challenge cuts in local authority services. Local community groups are being mobilised such as Hackney Special Educational Crisis and this is driving unprecedented media coverage in the mainstream media.
It is now the time for Third Sector leaders to have their voices heard. As a signatory of a letter created by SEC my peers and I are calling on the government to consider the impact on young people and their families and the long-term sustainability of a system which is low in capacity and resource.
Driver Youth Trust is partnering with schools, local authorities and parent groups to help develop SEN provision, particularly in relation to literacy, but there is a clear need for coherency on a national level to ensure every young person, whatever their requirements, gets an education – something many of us take for granted.
Letter from SEC:
We believe there is compelling evidence that disabled children and young people, and those with the highest levels of special educational need, are paying the biggest price for the government’s real terms cuts to education.
High needs funding is used by local authorities to meet their legal obligations to disabled children and young people, those with special educational needs, and those in alternative provision.
However, the system is now under unsustainable pressure; this makes it harder for mainstream schools to be inclusive and means children and young people are not getting the support they desperately need to do well.
As fewer pupils with high needs are being educated in mainstream schools, local authorities are legally obliged to fund more placements in special schools, and more alternative provision. These additional costs must all be found from high needs funding, leaving even less support for mainstream settings. This further undermines the mainstream system and leads to even more children and young people requiring high needs funding.
A vicious cycle has been created, pushing the system to breaking point and leaving vulnerable children and young people losing out unfairly. The government must recognise the additional pressures on high needs funding and provide sufficient long-term investment.
Kate Fallon, Chair of SEC
Philippa Stobbs, Vice-Chair of SEC
Christopher Rossiter, Driver Youth Trust
Linda Lascelles, Afasic
Amanda Batten, Contact
Carol Boys, Downs Syndrome Association
Diana Robinson, SENDac
Alison Fiddy, IPSEA
Martha Evans, Anti-Bullying Alliance
Eliot Lyne, RNIB
Mark Lever, National Autistic Society
Carol Long, Young Epilepsy
Peter Imray, Equals
Clare Howard, Natspec
Dr Artemi Sakellariadis, CSIE
John Drewicz, AEP
Claire Dorer, NASS
Dr Adam Boddison, NASEN
Helen Boden, British Dyslexia Association