TRUTH ABOUT NEGLECT AND BREACH OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN SEND CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE UK

TRUTH ABOUT NEGLECT AND BREACH OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN SEND CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE UK

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Millie Holmes started this petition to Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) and

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE UK GOVERNMENT

We are a large and growing consortium of parents of SEND children residing within the UK. We are here to represent the experience and views of the vast majority in regards to the healthcare and education systems you are responsible for, that consistently fail to meet our children’s’ educational and healthcare needs, leading to life-long behavioural and mental health problems in the vast majority of cases. 

I believe the UK government was one of the first to sign up to Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which entered into force on the 3rd of May 2008

The Convention is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced. Please refer to article 7 of the CPRD if you feel you need reminding of the basic human rights of SEND individuals you are actively and deliberately ignoring.

As parents of SEND children, as well as concerned citizens we have actively researched and gathered evidence, which points to the lack of accountability of those professionals tasked to work with SEND children as being the key factor in these failures to meet need.  

Many SEND professionals lack the necessary skills and training to meet the complex and varied needs of SEND children.

There is very much a blanket policy which takes the form as one size fits all approach to SEND education. Please do not forget that SEND children are not all the same. The degree of disability can vary greatly within any diagnosis. Many children also have a multitude of additional disabilities of varying degrees of severity. Surely this means an individual and personalized approach to both learning and mental health is necessary to truly meet each child’s educational needs and enable them to reach their best possible potential.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case, and instead there seems to exist a culture of ignorance and willful neglect by the bodies you have appointed to provide support and education. This group of vulnerable children are written off and thrown on the educational scrap heap at an early age as they are not seen to be potentially useful in greasing the cogs of society. 

The government and local councils are funded by the public purse. A growing percentage of taxpayers have children born at a disadvantage that fit the criteria of having SEND. Is it then morally and socially correct to deny the children of these same taxpayers their educational and healthcare rights? 

The government actively enables and turns a blind eye to a culture of denial and fear established and entrenched by LA SEND departments. Parents of children are deliberately bullied and denied help and support from the very beginning, starting with diagnostic routes and agreements to assess for EHCP’s, all the way to schools taking the full funding provided by the government for disabled students but not using it to provide structured teaching, training for staff or essential professional therapies such as SALT and OT. Healthcare, in particular mental health needs, are not met. Our children are further disabled by the failure to provide necessary therapeutic intervention to assist with their disabilities and encourage their learning, mental well-being and growth during their formative years. Those parents who do not accept this way of existence are actively gas lit, lied to, manipulated, and terrorized by SEND professionals ranging from a selection of teaching staff to LA case workers. This results in a widespread culture of fear where parents suffer much anguish over the education and care of their SEND child. They are unable to speak up to ask for their children’s educational rights and needs being met for fear of any little existing support being denied or withdrawn. Effectively you titled gentlemen are knowingly enabling and endorsing effective terrorism against the SEND community on a grand scale in the UK.

Those parents who are legally able to challenge their LA are further assaulted by unfair and inept methods of practice regularly employed by LA commissioned professionals. Professional reports commissioned by LA’s are clearly skewed in their favor with a view to saving money rather than trying to meet the needs of vulnerable SEND children. Recommendations are not acted upon and EHC plans are unusable to due to the lack of quantification and specificity of provision. Learning targets are not informed by adherence to EHC plans or regular and detailed assessments as they are required to be. The law is deliberately ignored and there is a seemingly infinite list of failings in SEND education. As a result, more and more parents are seeking alternatives for their SEND children as the LA’s are unwilling and incapable of meeting need. The government is clearly in willful denial of this problem. You may remember me writing to you earlier this year Mr. Williamson, regarding the case of historic educational neglect of my severely autistic daughter. A request you chose to deny and brush under the carpet as you do with the issue of SEND in general. 

Schools deliberately misrepresent children’s assessments to chart progress, LA SEND workers refuse to interact with parents and treat them badly when co-operation is needed for mediation meetings and co-production of working documents, pages of parental evidence are deliberately undertaken, all in a day’s work and the total norm for LA caseworkers and related professionals. There are few and ineffective laws to prevent this type of behavior, which are deliberately broken time and time again without any fear of accountability and repercussion by LA caseworkers and related professionals. The whole SEND system is in meltdown with councils making stupid and awfully expensive mistakes as well as failing SEND children, often with dire consequences.

Mental health problems among SEND children is rife along with the only option for many seeming to be to end their tortured existence. Now I am confronted with the news that you are thinking about removing Judicial Review as the only measure that desperate parents can take to hold corrupt LA’s to account? Not on my watch!

Is the UK indeed a civilized country, a democratic nation where a whole group of vulnerable individuals are marginalized, neglected, ignored and left to suffer? 

A solution to this corrupt and demoralizing system that is failing so many vulnerable SEND children and their family’s needs to be sought with urgency. There must be legal accountability enforced in the form of an Accountability Act passed in government to ensure all SEND professionals operate to the best professional standards, honestly and openly, and in the best interests of SEND children. Penalties must be enforced for any SEND professional or department who do not follow the rules and adhere to the legal stipulations of this accountability act. Exceptions and excuses must not be made. It is a set of rules no different to those enforced in other honourable professions such as medicine, to ensure that every decision and every professional duty is carried out to the highest standards and truly in the best interests of the SEND individuals whose educational and healthcare rights it is proposed to protect. There must also be a review, tightening and clarification of existing laws to close the margins for misuse and misinterpretation. 

There is a desperate need for an independent regulatory body set up with full legal powers to ensure compliance of SEND professionals to the Accountability Act. The denial of support, education, and healthcare to SEND children, and the harassment and victimization of their families by LA professionals must end now. We have issued this letter as a precursor for the action we plan to take next. Action which will bring the widespread abuse of the human rights of SEND individuals to your doorstep and stop the generous influx of money the government receives from private companies who charge a fortune to imprison, institutionalize, willfully abuse and neglect SEND individuals by using their untreated mental health (your responsibility) as an excuse. Any sensible person would think public money could be better used, in fact millions saved by providing appropriate education and intervention during the formative years for these SEND individuals so they do not end up in crisis.

I will seek to hold a meeting with yourselves and move forwards with a proposal for this requested Accountability Act as a matter of extreme urgency.

Yours Sincerely 

Natasha Rashid

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