Government treats pupils with SEND like 'second-class citizens'

Budget cuts are creating a 'bleak' picture for schools supporting children with SEND, says headteacher's leader

child with send

A headteachers’ leader today accused the government of not doing enough for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said that funding cuts left young people and their families feeling like “second-class citizens”.

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Mr Whiteman said: “The picture facing schools supporting children with special educational needs is bleak. Not only are school budgets at breaking point, there have been severe cuts to local authority health and social care provision. 

“All too often, young people and their families are left feeling like second-class citizens in the education system, when what they really need is first-class support.”

His comments came as the NAHT hosted a conference in London on SEND education.

Speaking at the conference, Marijke Miles, headteacher of Baycroft School in Hampshire, a secondary school for children with moderate to severe learning difficulties, said: “More and more now I find it is necessary to fight the system. All too often, the successes of my students happen despite the system, not because of it. And that can’t be right.”

The union’s recent Empty Promises report revealed a “bleak” picture on SEND funding with 94 per cent of heads saying that it is now more difficult to resource SEND provision than it was two years ago.

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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