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(UK) Hackney parents protest 'national scandal' of SPED funding failure

May 31, 2019, Hackney Citizen: SEND protesters demand action as funding crisis ‘spills into the open’ https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2019/05/31/send-protesters-demand-action-funding-spills-open/ Hackney parents, accompanied by the borough’s leading councillors, marched on Downing Street yesterday in protest against the levels of funding for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). Hackney Special Education Crisis demonstrators were part of co-ordinated action across the country demanding their children receive full funding, as local authorities stare down a high-needs SEND gap of £1.6bn over the next two years, according to ISOS partnership figures…. Mother and campaigner Lisa Kelleher said: “I was marching yesterday with my four daughters (two have autism spectrum disorder) to protest against central governments inadequate levels of SEND funding. This is impacting a lot of children in Hackney. “Schools are not receiving enough money to provide the proper support that a child with SEND needs and this means that a lot of children receive nothing. Parents have to fight for funding for their children, often having to go to tribunal. … The Children and Families Act came into force in 2014, extending the special educational needs system to young people up to the age of 25 and introducing EHC plans, a council-assessed legal document entitling a young person to extra help so they can access education or training. However, campaigners and councillors point out that funding has not risen concurrently with the age range for an EHCP being extended, forcing already cash-strapped local authorities to dip into their reserves and grants to find the funding for children with SEND…. “It cannot be right that councils are being dragged to the verge of bankruptcy, and it cannot be right that parents and carers are being forced to take action against their local council out of sheer exasperation and desperation. “We need properly funded provision, with Government funding linked to the number of EHCPs for which a local authority is responsible. It’s not rocket science – it’s a fair and sensible approach to funding.”… . Poppy Rose, co-founder of SEND National Crisis, said: “It is an intolerable situation that means access to rights, equality, inclusion and the prospect of a bright future are being wrongfully denied to many thousands of disabled children. This is not just a national crisis; it is a national scandal.” Department for Education data shows an 11 per cent rise of children and young people on EHCPs since 2018. Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “These statistics are concerning. EHCPs were introduced to provide personalised and tailored support for those children with more complex needs, but the 10 per cent increase in plans last year is a clear challenge for the SEN and disability system. We will use this data to follow up with local authorities who are not performing well to support and challenge them to improve. … “Whilst we have increased the total amount allocated to high needs funding to £6.3 billion this year, we recognise the pressures in the system and we are working with the sector ahead of the spending review to find a long term, sustainable solution for high needs funding.”