Short cuts in special educational needs are resulting in misdiagnosis and exclusions for vulnerable pupils as cuts bite.
To cope, many councils have been forced to take money from mainstream and early years education to try and plug gaps in Special Education Needs (SEN).
Some local authorities no long employed educational psychologists; meaning schools have to commission their own - often through remote, private organisations.
This is despite growing demand for SEN placements and assessments and an unprecedented youth mental health crisis. A recent survey by the Association of Educational Psychologists found increased demand in 94 percent of services.
Such is the squeeze that educational psychologists are being forced to identify the special educational needs of pupils “in one visit”.
At one school a new student arrived with a diagnosis of autism; only for staff to find out that the student was, in fact, deaf.
“Efficiencies” driven diagnoses, made during a single, short visit, can have harrowing consequences for pupils and parents alike. Schools with skeleton staff are the ones left to pick up the pieces.
At the same time attempts by cash strapped councils to turn down requests for support are regularly being overturned. Almost nine in 10 cases taken to a tribunal find in favour of parents. Campaigners are concerned that some struggling schools are resorting to informal exclusions to remove SEND students from mainstream.
Thousands of Headteachers marching on Downing Street at the end of last year was a sure sign that Britain is Broken and we can't afford the Tories.
The question is “How long will communities continue to accept the cuts?”
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