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(UK) Bath: Parents protest; "funding had not kept pace with increase in autism diagnoses"

OCT 14, 2023, BBC NEWS: SEND parents call for change at Bath protest

S. England

A mother who joined other parents protesting for change in education on behalf of children with special needs has said her son has been left "traumatised" by the system.

Bath's SEND Reform England protest was among 13 being held nationally.

Jess said her son who has ADHD had been excluded from mainstream school 31 times in four years.

"He only got a special school place after we fought his case at a tribunal," she added. The government said it had a plan for improvement and investment.

Parents in Bath called for more support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Jess said: "My son is traumatised, he has no self-esteem and he doesn't believe he has a place in this world because the education system didn't meet his needs.

"He was given a diagnosis at six years old, given tablets and sent on his way."

Campaigners said school funding had not kept pace with an increase in autism diagnoses in recent years….

Some attendees said they had resorted to home-schooling their children, like Ian and Elly from Glastonbury….

A previous petition by SEND Reform England has gained more than 80,000 signatures. It said: "Our SEND children are being catastrophically failed by the current education system."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "The Government's investment in the high need budget has risen by over 60% since 2019-20 to £10.5 billion [$13B].

They added: "Councils are responsible for making sure there is appropriate education for all children in their area including for children with special educational needs and disabilities."Our published SEND and AP improvement plan sets out how we will make sure all children with special needs and disabilities receive the support they need, with earlier intervention, consistent high standards and less bureaucracy."

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