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(UK) MP calls out 'catastrophic impact' of SPED crisis; MORE MONEY NEEDED

Feb 7, 2024, Lichfield Live: More help needed for families seeking special educational needs and disability support, MP says

More help is needed for families fighting to get better support for their children in schools, a local MP has said.

Labour’s Sarah Edwards raised the challenge for those parents of youngsters with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at Prime Minister’s Questions.

The MP for Tamworth – which includes areas such as Fazeley, Shenstone and Stonnall – highlighted the case of a local resident who has waited a number of years for an autism diagnosis for her son who now faces the prospect of starting secondary school without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place.

She said:

“Right now we have a crisis in SEND provision that is getting worse every day and is having a catastrophic impact on the progress of our children.

“In the last few weeks at my constituency surgeries, I have been meeting more and more exhausted and frustrated parents who are desperately trying to get their children the right support they need, but too often are finding that a lack of resources or long waiting lists are preventing this.

“I’ve spoken with local teachers and teaching assistants on the front line who tell me that they simply don’t have the time or resources to give children the support they need, and that the situation is getting worse every day..

“The government must give local authorities the proper funding they need to recruit educational psychologists, bring down waiting lists, and create capacity within the system.”

Sarah Edwards MP

Jessica Tomlinson, who was referenced in the House of Commons debate, said the uncertainty over the EHCP was creating stress for both herself and her son.

“It’s been a fight from the very beginning – years to get a diagnosis, but even with that we have doors closed in our faces when we ask for support.

“My son will likely have to start secondary school with no EHCP.

“His mental health has also been impacted due to feeling isolated and he now feels like he’s different and ashamed.

“The government needs to provide the desperately needed funding to give our children the chance to reach their potential urgently.”



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