Failing the vulnerable

11th August 2017 at 00:00
For those with special educational needs or disabilities, the time to prepare for college life is crucial. Sadly, that's not something they're being afforded

Moving to a new college is difficult enough at the best of times. But if you’re a young person with high needs, the system you have to negotiate can be torturous.

A straw poll of national specialist colleges this week showed that the institutions are still waiting to find out if anywhere between a tenth and a half of their students have been granted the funding to attend. That’s with less than a month to go until the start of term. How these students, with the most severe disabilities, and their families can plan for such as life-changing move, often to the other end of the country, in such a short time is hard to imagine.

And for specialist colleges, the uncertainty makes planning, organising teaching and funding an appropriate curriculum nigh-on impossible. But the most damning indictment of the impact of the Children and Families Act 2014 has to be that, as a result of its reforms – to offer “simpler, improved and consistent help” for SEND learners – young people such as Alicia Jackson are missing out on years of education.

The system isn’t working – and vulnerable young people, who need our help the most, are the ones losing out.

@stephenexley

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