A petition against drastic changes to the provision of services for special education need children hits 13,000 signatures

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Mansoor Siddique reports that a petition addressed to the Department of Education in regards to the Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities white paper which cuts important services for children with special needs has now reached over 13,000 signatures

Mansoor Siddique

MansoorSiddique.com looks to raise awareness of struggles faced by parents of children with special needs when requesting a special needs statutory assessment and how this would be affected if proposed changes by the government white paper were to be introduced.

Currently it is extremely difficult is for parents to request the services that their children need in order to benefit from their essential time in education, with the current procedure for a statutory assessment for special needs.

However the white paper suggests changes that would drastically make this procedure all the more difficult for parents and their children. The white paper suggests cutting both the right of the school and the right of the parents to request a statutory assessment of the educational needs of the child. This will ultimately lead to a child not being able to access services that are essential in their education.

Feedback from other parents in the same situation was received and all are frustrated with the procedure that is already in place. Significant concerns have been raised by parents in regards to the future proposed changes with many parents worrying that their children and others will be missing out on important aspects of their education.

The white paper focuses on benefitting the local authorities with little regard for the impact the reduction of services will have on those parents and children who require them. Proposals suggest that in order to appeal parents should first take part in mandatory mediation, a process which has a variety of flaws which work against the rights of the parent and those of the children. The non independent and time consuming mediation process will ultimately benefit the local authority and the length of time involved will have little regard for the children who are awaiting and therefore missing out on the special education services which they require.

Finally the white paper also reduces the requirement for the local authority to have an actual duty for the children and changes it to simply to use their “best endeavours” and further cost cutting and added bureaucracy in the process may result in a significant loss of service and care by the local authorities towards the children with more focus placed on budgets.

The petition (which can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34073) having now reached over 13000 signatures details just how important these services are to thousands of children and families across the United Kingdom and it is vital that issues suggested by the white paper are addressed by the Department of Education.

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Dr M Mansoor Siddique
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