Sheffield City Council SEN Department Stop Failing Our Disabled Children To Save Money!
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Sparkle Sheffield are a volunteer based charity that support children with autism and their families in Sheffield. We currently support many children with significant special educational needs who are not being given their right to an education in a provision that will best meet their needs. Our children are being left to suffer extreme distress in unsuitable environments without the support they desperately need. This is destroying children's lives and their families lives. We have children as young as 6 suffering from high levels of anxiety and depression because of Sheffield Council's failures to provide for our children and many other disabled children in Sheffield.
We call upon Sheffield City Council and the Sheffield Local Authority Special Educational Needs Department to meet their legal statutory duty to identify and assess the special educational needs and disability (SEND) of children and young people for whom they are responsible and to ensure that those children and young people receive a level of support which will help them “achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes” – Section 19 (d) as set out in section 3 of the children and families act 2014.
Sheffield local Authority Special Education Needs and Disability Department are failing our disabled children, causing significant harm to them and their families and failing to meet their statutory duty as outlined in the children and families act and SEN code of practise.
In 2016 the Sheffield LA only issued 12% of education and health care plans by the statutory 20-week deadline. Leaving disabled children to suffer for longer in educational provisions that were unable to meet their needs.
We, the undersigned, request:
- That Sheffield City Council, cease its ill-treatment of Disabled children, Disabled young people and Disabled young adults and their families/carers who are entitled to request, be given and have adhered to- Education, Health and Care Plans
- For Sheffield City Council to redress its failings in regard to meeting the SEND requirements of Disabled children, Disabled young people and Disabled young adults
- For Sheffield City Council to cease its drive to reduce and close IR units, in mainstream schools in Sheffield and to identify reductions in IR units and SEND staffing across the City
- For Sheffield City Council to reinstate the funding taken from Special Schools in Sheffield. Essential funding that has adversely affected children and young people and SEND provision, and job losses in these schools
- For SEND decisions on an individual basis and on provision and city-wide basis to be made transparent and open to increased scrutiny and accountability
- For Sheffield City Council to identify their SEND 'cost savings’ since 2010 to the present and their forward planning and strategy in this regard and to identify where the funding from these 'cost savings' has gone and will go
- For the Sheffield Grid to not be deployed on the current basis of being resource led rather than needs led
-To cease forcing mainstream schools under the guise of direction to take children whose needs are best met in special schools.
- That Sheffield City Council fulfill their duty of putting Disabled children, Disabled Young People and Disabled Young Adults First in line with their SEND duties and their Public Sector Equalities Duties.
- That Sheffield City Council truly adhere to their duties as Corporate Parents of Disabled Children, Disabled Young People and Disabled Young Adults and to put their best interests first
- That Sheffield City Council be honest to parents and to cease making untruthful statements to parents of disabled children about their rights. For example, telling parents outright that the LA has no provision in law to provide education otherwise than in a school for a disabled child if no school can meet the child’s identified special educational needs when in truth this provided for in law in section 10.30 and 10.31 of the SEND code of practice 2015.
- Sheffield city council SEN department will cease ignoring attempts at communication from parents via email and telephone.
- Sheffield city council will adhere to deadlines and actions agreed and promised by their selves. To cease making assurances to parents that they then fail to act upon.
- To cease forcing parents to take legal action to get the educational provision that can meet the child’s identified educational needs. Sheffield local authority force too many parents too tribunal unnecessarily, as can be seen by the fact that the authority has lost more cases at tribunal than has been won.
- To cease wasting time, resources and money on avoiding their legal obligations, instead to use these resources to ensure the best possible outcome for each and every child.
- To cease wasting funding on paying external companies to write poor and inadequate, incorrect EHC plans.
- To cease blaming the departments failure to provide for disabled children within the legal time frame on staff stress and illness with no consideration given to the children and their families that suffer from all the delaying tactics employed by the local authority. This excuse for not responding to parents/carers and advocates and not meeting statutory timelines has been employed in excess of 6 months by the local authority who have failed to address the issue and ensure they can meet the needs of its service users; the parents and their vulnerable children.
Ultimately, we demand that Sheffield Local Authority cease failing the children, young people and young adults it is responsible for with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Each and every child with SEND will have their needs assessed family and within legal time frames. Each and every child with SEND will have their needs met wholly in the correct provision based on meeting needs, not on cost. Each and every child/young person with SEND who requires special education provision will be provided with a quality plan that outlines accurately their needs and required provision within the 20-week deadline. Each and every child and young person with SEND will be allocated a placement that meets their needs fully and enables each and every child to progress and reach their potential.
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