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(UK) Cornwall: Parents worried about lack of special needs school places

Feb 23, 2023, Falmouth Packet: Parents’ anxious wait to see if special educational needs children have places

SW England

A mum says that parents of children with special educational needs are facing an anxious wait to find out if their children will get their chosen school places in September.

Hannah McCormack says that Cornwall Council had originally said parents would be told if they had secured their preferred schools in January but that has now been delayed until March.

Hannah, whose daughter Sienna-Rose requires specialist support, said that there was a lack of specialist provision in Cornwall for children with special educational needs (SEN) and says that parents are concerned about whether they will get a suitable place in school….

Hannah says her daughter has complex medical needs which includes having to be tube fed, as well as autism and sensory needs. She says she selected Tregolls School as she felt that a specialist unit at the school would be suitable for her.

She said: “She needs to be in a calmer environment or she gets really stressed. From my perspective putting her in a mainstream school would not be appropriate and would have a huge impact.

“It might seem that I am overreacting as there is time until the school year starts, but there is a huge transition required once the school has been identified. I want to make sure that everything is in place in good time.

“I have other children with SEN and they are in mainstream school so this is coming from an informed position. It is not helpful for us or for her to have this delay and the way that it has been communicated has not been great.”

Hannah said that there were concerns among parents of SEN children that there are insufficient services in Cornwall. It has previously been reported that some children have to go outside of Cornwall to access specialist provision.

And the mum said that there is currently no specialist pre-school provision for SEN children in Cornwall and that she had had to give up work so she could accompany Sienna-Rose to her pre-school….

“Parents with SEN children seem to have to fight for everything for their vulnerable children, we don’t need the added anxiety and stress about school places.”

In a statement Cornwall Council said: “Negotiations with SEND schools are still ongoing and we are working hard to ensure every child is allocated the most suitable placement. We understand that this uncertainty will be causing parents and carers anxiety and we are doing everything we can not to prolong this. …

Four-year-old Sienna-Rose McCormack who is waiting to hear if she has her SEN school place for September


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