Stop cuts to school funding: every child matters.

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Please sign this petition to support a debate into how the proposed school budget cuts together with the commissioning cuts into accessing specialist allied services (NHS SaLT, OT, PT, CAMHs, and Ed Psych), will impact on children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCNs) to meet their social, emotional and academic potential in school and their future economic potential. 

Currently, the commissioning of allied health services is under going significant changes and financial cuts. As a result, access to specialist NHS agencies has become increasingly difficult to achieve and the criteria bar for achieving Educational Health Care Plans (EHCPs), which ensures tailored support is put in place to meet the academic and social needs of children with SLCNs, has been raised.  

The raised criteria for EHCPs has meant that over the past year fewer children with persistent speech, language and communication needs have been awarded EHCPs.  The difficulty in accessing support from the NHS has resulted in a high level of school aged children entering school with unidentified and unsupported speech, language and/or communication difficulties.   

My questions are:

1.  In light of it now being the legal responsibility of individual teachers to provide adequate provision for children with SLCNs - who will be responsible for the identification, assessment, review and ongoing provision of support for children with SLCN and their families, when the budget cuts come in and access to specialist agencies are continually being reduced or can only be accessed financially?

2.  How will the Secretary for Education ensure that schools across the U.K. will have budgets that reflect the school'/ individual and diverse needs.

3.  Is the Secretary of Education of the opinion that children with special education needs have rights to an education system that ensures they can achieve to their highest potential?

4.  Does the Secretary of Education respect research that demonstrates that children with SLCNs have a higher risk of social isolation, mental health issues, under achievement and of offending without adequate levels of support.

The true cost of the cuts will potentially be a reduction in teachers, teaching assistants and booster groups that currently work hard in schools to address the lack in support for these children, whilst schools increase the size of their classes and become potentially, increasingly selective in their intakes. 

Please sign with me to ensure that every child matters and every child has a fair chance to meet their social, academic and future economic potential. Also, sign with me to congratulate all our teachers, SENCOs, supporting staff and Heads, for the amazing jobs they do to ensure our children are safe, happy and learning at school.

Annabel Grove 

Independent Speech and Language Therapist.



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