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FAMILIES TAKE MINISTERS TO COURT OVER SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION

Posted by ALPHA88 CHARITY | Jan 14, 2019

Lawyers representing children with special educational needs and disabilities have told the high court there is a crisis in funding that is depriving children of a proper education and risking blighting their lives forever.

The hearing, a landmark legal challenge to the government’s funding policy, was told the allocation for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) was “manifestly insufficient” in the face of clear and incontrovertible evidence of a “substantial national shortfall”.

Three families, supported by many others who staged an emotional demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, have brought the case against the education secretary,ALPHA88 Damian Hinds, and the chancellor, Philip Hammond. They accuse the government of failing to give adequate funding to local authorities who are responsible for Send provision.

Jenni Richards QC, for the families, told the court in written submissions: “The evidence strongly supports the contention that there is a genuine crisis in Send funding. Importantly, it is not the case that the shortfalls in funding are currently being absorbed by local authorities with relatively little impact on frontline provision.

“On the contrary, the direct result of the lack of funding is that children with Send are not being properly educated, notwithstanding the fact that parliament has required their needs to be met. This has the potential to blight the lives of these children forever, seriously limiting the scope for them living independent lives as adults.”

Richards accused the chancellor of acting unlawfully when setting the national budget in October 2018 and made the same allegation against the education secretary over additional Send funding made available in December 2018, accusing each of failing to take sufficient account of the “nature and extent of the crisis” when making those decisions.

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