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(UK) May 30 nationwide SPED protest planned; 'an absolute crisis'

May 18, 2019, Eastern Daily Press: 'It is an absolute crisis': Parents to march in protest over special needs funding Parents fighting a daily battle to ensure their children with special needs get a proper education are taking to the streets to call on the government for extra funding. A special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) march will be taking place in Norwich on May 30, one of many happening around the country, including in London. The protesters are calling on the government to give more funding to local authorities and other support services to help children with complex needs, who are bearing the brunt of cuts in education and social care. Among the marchers will be Verity McCormick from Hellesdon. She is fighting for appropriate provision for her son Oliver, six, who is non-verbal and has autism and developmental and learning difficulties. "He is in a mainstream school but obviously it is very loud, he doesn't cope very well with his sensory issues. He spend all day hiding under the table or outside," she said. "The main issue with that is when he comes home he absolutely explodes and can be aggressive and violent." Mrs McCormick has applied to the county council get Oliver an education health and care plan (EHCP) to help him secure a place in a special school, but understands the competition he faces for a place. "It is an absolute crisis because there are so many children in need. My son has slipped through the net at every available opportunity. The whole process is completely failing him," she said. "The school are trying their very best, but it is not enough and we both know that. The funding they get doesn't even cover his one-to-one support." Hayley Huckle from Sprowston got an EHCP for her son Tommy, eight, who has autism, while he was still in pre-school - but his mother says gaps in provision meant his speech problems were not properly addressed. He is struggling in mainstream junior school, despite getting appropriate support, and his parents are trying to get him a special school place…. Ed Maxfield, Liberal Democrat spokesman for children's services on Norfolk County Council, said in a letter to council leader Andrew Proctor and children's services cabinet member John Fisher that SEND services had come under increasing pressure in recent years. …


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