Stop the Schools Bill - don't prosecute when children can't, not won't go to school!

Stop the Schools Bill - don't prosecute when children can't, not won't go to school!

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Susan Liverman started this petition to Gillian Keegan (Secretary of State for Education) and

We are Maddie and Susan, we are two mums who both have autistic children. We didn't always know that our children were autistic and they both had severe attendance difficulties with school while we tried to get them the support they needed. Getting any help was really difficult though and during the time it took we were vulnerable to fines. We have started this petition against the Government's new Schools Bill, which threatens parents with prison sentences when our children can't attend school and prioritises attendance over the needs of children, especially those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)  

When my son started to struggle with going to school it was a symptom of an underlying cause - autism. He tried so hard to go, but just couldn't. We didn't know it at the time but he has sensory differences that mean a classroom environment can be overwhelming. We soon realised that forcing him into school was actually increasing his distress. Worrying about being fined when my son's difficulties would have been made worse going to school, as it didn’t cater to his needs, caused us more anxiety at a really tough time (Susan). 

My son Harleigh shouldn’t miss out on being educated because he's autistic and can't cope in mainstream school. He finally has an education otherwise at school (EOTAS) that meets his needs, he is starting to recover from his autistic breakdown and thrive again. Our children have done nothing wrong by having a disability or difference which means they need more support or an alternative to mainstream school (Maddie). 

We wanted our kids in school, but they couldn’t be, which caused us stress and pain every single day. The threat of prosecution is terrifying and does nothing to provide our kids with the support they need to get an education. 

There are other concerning changes in the Schools Bill too - the compulsory Home Education Register that gives the government near-unlimited right to demand any and all information with threats of imprisonment. No evidence of harm is required. This is very worrying.

If the Bill passes, experts predict this raises the likelihood of successful fines and prosecutions, custodial sentences and fast-tracking of parents to criminal punishment.  Maddie and I ask - why are parents being punished for having kids who struggle with mainstream school?

Support isn't being fined, and imprisoning us wouldn't have helped our children obtain an education, but it would have torn our families apart. We need more local authority funding for alternatives to mainstream education, so that our kids can be in schools that are right for them. 

Please help stop the Bill - we can protect children and families from harm and put the focus back where it should be in law -providing all children with an Education.

Stop The Schools Bill. 

Susan Liverman & Maddie Roberts 

Supported by the following organisations:

  • AUltering Attitudes Advocacy: Embracing and empowering our children today for a better tomorrow.
  • Bury SEND Reform direct action to reform all Children’s SEND services in Bury area.
  • Define Fine: Parent Peer Support for Attendance Issues
  • Education Otherwise Than At School EOTAS Support for SEN Families
  • Missing The Mark 1-2-1 Parent Support and Talks
  • NeurodiverCity® C.I.C. We aim to provide a platform for the Neurodiverse community created by Neurodivergents
  • Neurodivergent Education Support & Training - NEST
  • Neurodive: Providing training for families and professionals supporting children and young people with Neurodivergence [Autistic, attention differences] 
  • Not Fine in School is a parent/carer-led organisation set up in response to the growing number of children and young people who struggle with school attendance
  • The Nurture Programme® offers bespoke training for teachers, professionals & parents & carers of children with additional needs.#
  • PDA For Connor, advocacy
  • PDA Society We provide information, support and training about PDA for individuals, families and professionals.
  • Positively PDA Helping parents of autistic children with a PDA profile 
  • SEND Family Instincts: SEND & EHCP membership service and admin support for parents, carers and professionals.
  • Square Peg: Square Peg campaigns to effect change for children who struggle to attend school and their families. Because one size does not fit all in education.
  • Sunshine Support Independent SEND information, advice + support to parents/carers and professionals of children and young people with special educational needs.
  • Time For Change - SEND Advocacy 
  • Yellow Brick Education - Education Consultancy



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At 300,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on!