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(UK) Sheffield: 1500 disabled students have no school place; many on wait list for years

Oct 15, 2020, Sheffield Telegraph: Money being withheld by councils for children attending special schools, including in Sheffield https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/opinion/columnists/money-being-withheld-councils-children-attending-special-schools-including-sheffield-3003129 Parents have been highlighting that some schools concerned, who are struggling to meet their overheads, bereft of released LA payments, have been in communication with them expressing that the withholding of fee payments by councils for their child’s provision goes back many months and in instances two terms plus, potentially placing at risk their child’s placement in these schools and causing fiscal detriment to the schools concerned. It is the case that where children have been placed outside of maintained council special school provision, or in a maintained school outside of their LA, this arises in most instances because these provisions can meet, most appropriately, the disabled children’s SEND profile and SEND provision requirements, whereas the maintained council schools cannot…. The FTT deals with appeals in relation to children and young people with special educational needs and Disabilities (SEND) as well as claims of disability discrimination in relation to school and local authorities (such as exclusions from schools). Not to adhere to a SENDIST directive is unlawful…. No child nor family should be suffering from stress or anxiety, arising from having payments for the provision that was prior agreed upon, not paid across to those commissioned to deliver this provision for the m. We also still have children in Sheffield and indeed across the UK being left without adequate SEND school placements, some have not even had designated to them a school placement to this very date. Government statistics identify that there are more that 1,500 children who do not have a school place, some have been on waiting lists for two years and some longer. One case I am dealing with in Sheffield was waiting for a special school placement for three years and when allocated a placement of late, has been given a special school placement wholly unsuited to his SEND profile and SEND provision requirements, necessitating a follow through legal challenge.