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Children suffer for bureaucracy

IT comes as no surprise to teachers that children with special needs are being denied the help they need due to the excessively bureaucratic and obstructive statementing process ("Red tape consumes special needs millions", TES, May 31).

Teachers could have given ministers this information free of charge, saving the millions of pounds which will no doubt have been paid to the Audit Commission. The solution lies not in a reduction of the number of statements, but in simplifying the statementing process and fast-tracking urgent cases. The amount of evidence required to prepare for a statement is unnecessarily time-consuming and burdensome and demonstrates a gross lack of trust in professional people. The talents of many specialists are being buried in a sea of paperwork.

Early intervention is vital and cost-effective in the long term, but children are left to deteriorate educationally and behaviourally. By the time they receive a statement, some are so badly scarred that their problems have become intractable. Secondary schools suffer the consequences in terms of disaffection, indiscipline, truancy, alcohol and drug abuse.

We cannot afford to ignore children's needs, and money must be transferred from bureaucracy to practical support.

Christine Lees

13, Islestone Court

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

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