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(UK) 'We're full'; British SPED students mainstreamed and special needs schools outta room

June 19, 2019, BBC News: Hundreds of special needs pupils 'squeezed' out of school More than 1,500 children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are without a school place in England, with some waiting up to two years for provision. The figures, collated by Newsnight, cover 46 English councils (25%), which suggests the real figure may be higher. One mother told the programme her son had been "squeezed out" of school as a "quick cost-cutting solution". The government said responsibility lay with local authorities. Local authorities do not routinely publish data but a series of Freedom of Information requests made over the past six months show 1,580 children with education and health care plans (EHCPs), which used to be called statements of special educational needs, have no education provision. … Alex Palmer, six, who has autism, has not had a school place for two years, having been excluded just weeks after starting at a mainstream school in 2017…. And children such as Alex could be just the tip of the iceberg. They are the ones who have an EHCP - but not all children with Send do. Last year, there were more than 285,000 children with EHCPs in England - but the number of Send children is higher. Parents can spend months, or even years, trying to get their child assessed for an EHCP and in the meantime there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to keep a register of these children. … The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, was not surprised by the numbers across England. "They reaffirm my concern that this is actually really widespread and there's a lot of children in this situation… lots of children and parents I've met who are spending 18 months, two years looking for that right school, or pinballing between applications to different schools," she said. Send provision is split between specialist and mainstream schools. Earlier this year, the government announced an additional £250m [$316M US] to support high needs and an extra £100m [$126M US] for new special school places - but the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates the funding gap for Send education will hit £1.6bn [$2B US] by 2021…. Charlotte Stubbs, the head teacher at Uffculme Special School, in Birmingham, which supports children on the autistic spectrum, said: "This year, we had 19 spaces available for September 2019 [in Year 7] - we had 86 requests for placement. "In our primary provision, specifically at Years 1 and 2, the class sizes are about seven or eight pupils per class size. "We've had 130 referrals for primary placements this year and we're full". Send places at mainstream schools are also coming under pressure. …


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