Last week in Parliament we had the second reading of the Children and Families Bill, which aims to make changes to the system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs.
This Bill should deliver real and lasting improvements for the quarter of a million children across the country who need a statement of special educational needs, or Education, Health and Care Plan as they will be known under these plans.
However changes to graduated levels of support will mean that the one in six pupils with mild to moderate needs which won’t qualify them for a statement, but currently means that they will get extra support either in school or from a specialist such as an educational psychologist or teacher of the deaf, are left with uncertainty of what kind of support will be available. This will affect around 8,500 children in Rotherham.
This lack of information is leaving many parents to worry that their child’s needs will no longer be met. We know that councils are already having to cut specialist staff in their central special needs teams, due to the huge cuts from the Government, and they are already struggling to cope with the numbers of children that receive support.
I hope that the Government will clarify this issue as the Bill goes through the Committee stages in the coming weeks. We need to ensure that these reforms mean that all children get the support they need to reach their potential.