July 2020: Injured Kids, Society Costs

July 2020: Injured Kids, Society Costs

By: Anne Dachel

There is still a dearth of any real news on special education and autism in U.S. schools, but not so in Britain and Ireland where the press reports constantly on big time increases in special education spending.

Honestly, while it’s not being reported on as a crisis, any thinking person has to be concerned about what’s happening over there. Someone needs to explain what’s going on.

Back in 2015 the big news out of Britain was the announcement that the government would be opening 27 new special needs schools in England.

These schools would serve 2,000 students. It all sounded good. Of the 27 schools, 22 would be specifically for children with autism. Unfortunately 27 schools weren’t enough, so because of “increasing demand” more had to be done.

2020: 37 new special schools with 49 more schools in the planning stage

July stories from the U.K. were all about more funding and more provisions for students with complex special needs. The British national government has approved 37 additional special schools across England, and that’s only the beginning.

Seemingly no one can tell us when it’s going to stop. At the same time no one is alarmed. Stories include reassuring photos of teachers and officials smiling and being quoted using words like ‘delighted,’ ‘fantastic’ and ‘exciting.’

The truth is the U.K. government has to do this. They have no choice. Local county councils simply can’t pay the enormous cost of sending students with critical special needs outside their home areas to school. The government has to come up with funding and it’s adding up to be billions.

The same is true in Ireland where shocking reports tell us about hundreds of disabled students who wait 3 and 4 years for assessments and then go on waiting lists for services. Hundreds have been told there aren’t school places for them.

One might ask why everyone is so compliant. Why doesn’t anyone demand to know why all this is necessary?

The majority of articles make it clear that these schools are for students with autism or those who have severe social, emotional and mental health issues and cannot be educated in regular special education classes.

I have a suspicion that anything that fundamentally involves the epidemic of autism has to be marginalized. Autism can never be a real problem in the U.K., regardless of how much it costs or how much it increases. If anyone in Britain acknowledges that the explosion in autistic children everywhere represents a looming disaster it opens the door to Dr. Andrew Wakefield and MMR vaccine controversy. It’s much easier to smile for the group photos and keep paying and paying and paying.

BBC: Thousands of new special school places announced

Thousands of new school places will be created for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) with 35 new free special schools, the government has announced….

He said he had approved 33 school trusts to open and run 37 new schools in England, set to benefit up to 3,000 students. … Of these, 35 will provide support and teaching for pupils with complex needs such as autism, severe learning difficulties or mental health conditions.

The remaining two will be for children who have been, or are at risk of, being excluded from school to “level up their educational outcomes”…. The Government said an additional 49 special schools and eight alternative provision (AP) free schools, education outside of a school setting, were planned, bringing the total number of special free schools to 128 once completed.

Hull Live: (Northeast England): Hull school will be rebuilt with space for 210 more children 

Extra school spaces are needed across the city because of a population boom in some areas and increasing numbers of pupils with special educational needs (SEN). … As well as an increase in pupil capacity of 210 extra places, the new build will also have a 52-place nursery and a 10-place special educational needs autism spectrum disorder provision….

BBC: Ombudsman report: Boy with special needs failed by council twice

In 2018, Norfolk County Council was accused by the ombudsman of not ensuring the boy received suitable education for a period of eight months. … Now it is accused of leaving him without suitable education for seven months after school placement problems…. He said the council has agreed to compensate the mother for the cost of a tutor, pay her £1,400 [$1,700 (U.S.)] for the time the son was without a suitable education and a further £250 [$327] for the distress it caused….

This case reflects the national pressure that all local authorities across the country are experiencing when it comes to meeting the ever increasing demand from families for special educational needs and disability support for their children,” he said.

Irish Times: Schools in affluent areas of south Dublin resisting special classes, say campaigners Department of Education compels 39 schools in area to open classes for children with autism

Campaigners have expressed frustration that primary schools in affluent parts of south Dublin are resisting attempts to set up special classes for children with autism. … The Department of Education on Friday published a list of 39 schools which will be compelled to set up special classes for more than 80 children with autism and other special needs who do not have a school place. …

Eastern Daily Press: (SE England) ‘Passed from pillar to post’ – Mum of autistic boy twice failed by council tells of her family’s struggle

The mum of an autistic boy twice failed by Norfolk County Council has told of how the ordeal has left her without a job and fighting depression – and still feels his needs could be better met.

Amy Hunter, of Aerodrome Crescent in Thorpe St Andrew has twice sought the help of the ombudsman after County Hall failed to provide suitable education for her 10-year-old son Dylan…. “It just feels like there isn’t really a great deal of understanding of his autism and the impact this has had on him over the last three years. … “The county council really needs to take better ownership of things, not just for him but for so many other children like him.”

John Fisher, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said:

This case reflects the national pressure that all local authorities across the country are experiencing when it comes to meeting the ever increasing demand from families for SEND support for their children. “Like other local authorities, we have found it difficult to keep up with increasing demand in this area and we are sorry for that.

Peston Hub: (Northern England) Parents Asked To Give Feedback On Special Education Strategy 

Parents and children are being asked for their feedback on a new strategy to improve services for special education. The County Council wants feedback on school provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The SEND consultation, which launches today (Monday 6 July), is a chance for people to share their views about support provided in both mainstream and special schools. Proposals for specialised services outside mainstream school provision include:

  • Providing 100 new places for children with SEND at Sir Tom Finney Community High School, Preston on the top floor.

  • Opening the Haven site in Thornton Cleveleys, as a new facility offering more places for children who need social, emotional or mental health support.

  • Moving Broadfield Specialist School in Oswaldtwistle to the former Hameldon Community College site in Burnley to provide better specialist teaching spaces and 60 new secondary places for children with a wide range of SEND needs…..

Lincolnshire Live: (East Midlands) New Special Educational Needs school planned for Lincolnshire 

A brand new school for children with special educational needs could be set up in a Lincolnshire town. … The Holton Sleaford Independent School would provide education for secondary school pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs. … The school would cater to children aged between 14 and 19, and would have capacity for 15 pupils, according to planning documents submitted to North Kesteven District Council. …

Yorkshore Coast Radio: (Northern England) New Goals For SEND Provision In North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire County Council has set out new ambitious goals for its five-year plan to improve Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) education for children and young people….

The authority says although the population of children and young people in North Yorkshire continues to fall, the number of those identified as having SEND is still rising. …Working with the Department for Education and the appointed trust to develop the special free school in the Selby area. At the moment there are not enough places in North Yorkshire’s special schools to meet the needs of children and young people in the county with education, health and care plans (ECHPs.)

 Through this plan, the County Council will develop and improve further the good offer from special schools to meet the needs of more North Yorkshire children and young people. … There are also currently not enough places in special schools in North Yorkshire to meet the needs of children and young people in the county and a need for special school provision in Selby.

Darlington Northern Echo: (Northeast England) Costs of Darlington schools cost-cutting plan rises by £1m [$1.3M U.S.]

A FORMER council leader has been left “flabbergasted” by the cost of a cost-cutting scheme to educate more special educational needs and disabled (SEND) students locally at new specialist centres soaring by more than £1m.

While Darlington Borough Council is facing having to pay £990,000 more on changes to Rise Carr College and £66,000 extra on creating a SEND unit at Red Hall Primary School, a meeting of the authority’s cabinet next week will hear the initiative is being fully funded by the government. … The soaring costs are due to increasing rates of children being diagnosed as having special needs. The number of pupils given Education, Health and Care Plans rose from 385 in January 2013 to 683 in January 2018.

Leicester Council (East Midlands): £8.1 million [$10M U.S.] scheme will create hundreds of extra SEND school places

MORE than £8.1 million is to be invested in a programme of creating new school places and provisions for children with additional educational needs.

The proposals by Leicester City Council would see three special schools in the city extended to provide extra facilities, with the creation of Designated Specialist Provision (DSP) and Specialist Units at 10 further schools across the city. … The project would create 228 permanent new school places for children with special educational needs, and is needed both to meet the growing demand for such places, and reduce the costs incurred by placing children in schools further away from the city….

Netherhall was rebuilt in 2014 to accommodate 85 pupils, but currently has 108 pupils on its roll aged between four and 19 with severe and profound learning difficulties. … Leicester assistant city mayor for education and housing, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “Special school places are already in high demand, and this is expected to rise further over the coming years, so investment is required now to ensure we can meet that need….

Demand for special school places in the city has risen steadily over the last four years, as the number of children with an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) increasing from about 1,400 in 2014 to 2,500 this year. The areas of growth have been particularly strong in children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and social emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs.

Latest figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that there are now 354,000 children with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) in England, an increase of 11% in 2018 alone.

Irish Post: Two in three Irish primary school teachers are physically hurt by their students

TWO-THIRDS of primary school staff in Ireland are physically hurt by their students, according to a new survey. The Inclusion Illusion survey, which was carried out by the National Principals’ Forum, a lobbying group set up in 2019, set out to identify any shortfalls in the provision of special needs education in the primary school system.

It found that not only have two-thirds of primary school staff been hurt by their students, but that one in three were hurt on a ‘regular’ basis. … The survey also revealed that four out of five principals have seen their mental health deteriorate due to the stresses involved with the job, while more than three quarters claim that their physical health has suffered.

The conclusion in the report reads: “The health and wellbeing of the principals, and indeed teachers, trying to safeguard our pupils, in particular, those with additional needs, already disadvantaged by a system that is unfit for purpose, is being continually exploited and eroded.

LocalGov: Tackling our SEND challenge

How we provide for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) is a measure of how compassionate we are as a country and both the public and private sector are grappling with the challenge. Some 15% of the pupil population – around 1.3 million school age students in England – is classed as having a SEND requirement, and this cohort is growing fast.

Since 2015, the number of children and young people granted an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP – a legal document stating a child’s legal entitlement to funding for further support for severe and complex educational needs), has risen by 33% to 320,000…. In 2019, the government announced an additional investment of £700m [$880M U.S.] into special needs education to ensure that children and young people are provided with the buildings and facilities that are right for them.

LymeOnline: (South Coast England) Mum raises funds for teachers to take Autism Awareness course

A LOCAL mum has raised £535 [$673 U.S.] through a crowdfunding campaign to allow staff at Mrs Ethelston’s Primary School in Uplyme to take an Autism Awareness course. Zishan Adamson-Drage, who lives in Raymonds Hill, said that autism awareness was a subject close to her heart, as her son Jacob, who attends Mrs Ethelston’s, is autistic. Mrs Adamson-Drage said that behavioural signs of autism can sometimes go unrecognised and be put down to “being naughty”.

Northern Ireland, ViewDitgital.com: Mum tells of stressful time as her son Harry is told that there is no place for him at NI special needs schools

Harry Stewart, aged 8, last attended Oakwood Special School on March 13 this year. He has a chromosome disorder, is autistic and non-verbal. To a child like Harry, school is extremely important. But the Northern Ireland Education Authority have informed Harry’s parents that there is no place for him to return to school in September at either Glenveagh or Tor Bank special schools in Belfast.

Colette said the situation had been hard on the family and had been stressful at times. Harry going to school offered respite for the whole family. The news that there is no school place for Harry in September has been a blow for them. It appears that Harry is not alone as at least 100 other children have also been left without a special school place.

Trowbridge Gazette and Herald: (SW England) Council set out five-year education plan

North Yorkshire County Council has organised a five-year plan to improve Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) education for children and young people…. “This updated plan will enable us to provide more specialised, long-term provision in mainstream schools, as well as more places in special schools, a flexible system of learning and support from early years right through to adulthood.”

BBC: (Isle of Mann) Manx mother calls for better dyslexia support in schools Isle of Man 

A mother has called on the Manx government to implement regular dyslexia screening for schoolchildren and support training for teachers. … Julia Furner, whose daughter has dyslexia, said some were being “left behind” as it was identified too late. … On Tynwald Day, a petition by Mrs Furner asking the parliament to examine the current measures was submitted. …

The International Dyslexia Association estimates between 15-20% of people have “some of the symptoms” of dyslexia, which can affect a person’s ability to read and write, as well as their speech and co-ordination. … A report published by the British Dyslexia Association in October 2019 said schools in England were failing to diagnose at least 80% of pupils with the learning difficulty.

Staffordshire Express and Star: (Midlands) Early support for children in England ‘disjointed’, commissioner finds

Support for children during the first years of their lives is “disjointed”, meaning many from disadvantaged backgrounds are behind by the time they start formal education, a report has found. … Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has published a report looking at the provision of early years services for one to five-year-olds across the country. … The report, Best Beginnings, said services often fail to target disadvantaged children with development problems who need the most early help.

It found that, last year, 29% of five-year-olds in England were not at the expected level of development by the time they started school, including 45% of children receiving free school meals.

Berkshire Live: (SE England) Free school for children with special educational needs and disabilities in Reading and Wokingham approved

Oak Tree School will accommodate 150 pupils with SEND. … A new free school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Reading and Wokingham has been approved.

Oak Tree School will accommodate 150 pupils with SEND and will be designated for pupils with a Social, Emotional and Mental Health and/or an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.

Wales Online: ‘My nine year-old can’t read and write, he’s not learning anything at school and I’m not sending him back in September’

Jessica and Daniel Darch said they have been trying to get their son extra support for years and he’s been happier since school was shut by Covid-19. … Stephen has multiple diagnoses for a range of disorders, including global development delay, Tourette’s, ADHD and OCD anxiety. He also has exotropia, a condition causing the eyes to misalign and turn outward.

Despite these multiple issues, the Tonyrefail Community School pupil has never been assessed for a statement of special educational needs, said his mother Jessica. … Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said it worked to help children with additional needs. But Jessica said she has tried for three years, to no avail, to get her son’s school and the local education authority to assess him for extra help. … Jessica and her husband Daniel believe Stephen needs to be in a special school or, at the very least, have one-to-one help in the mainstream classroom….

Kent Online: (SE England) Free school at former Danley Middle School site on Sheppey to be open by September 2022

Pupils are expected to walk through the doors of a new special free school on Sheppey in September 2022. The secondary school will be built on the former Danley Middle School site in Halfway Road and cater for 120 young people. It will be open to those who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties, including those with autism and communication difficulties….

KCC’s cabinet member for education and skills, Cllr Richard Long (Con), said: “I am delighted The SABDEN Multi-Academy Trust has been appointed to run the new free special secondary school on the Isle of Sheppey and that building work will commence soon with the intention of opening this much needed provision in September 2022.

SPIRE FM: (SW England) Plans for new South Wiltshire SEND school take step forward 

The authority announced last April that there would be a free site for 150 pupils. It has now been agreed that Reach South Academy Trust, who already run a similar facility in Wiltshire, will be in charge of the new site. …

Banbury Guardian: (Central England) New Free School for children with complex special needs to be built in Bloxham

A new ‘Free School’ for 100 children with complex special needs and disabilities is to be built next to The Warriner School in Bloxham. … “A new school offering places for pupils with cognition and learning difficulties, social, emotional and mental health difficulties and autistic spectrum condition will complement and extend the excellent special education needs and disabilities (SEND) already provided by the state funded special schools in the area.”….

The development was part of a government scheme to provide 37 new special and alternative provision (AP) Free Schools in the next two years. … County Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: “Oxfordshire County Council welcomes this central government investment into additional special school places for pupils with autism spectrum disorder and social emotional and mental health difficulties.” …

Stoke Sentinel: (Central England) Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent schools to get an extra £28m – but will it be enough?

Schools across the region are to benefit from an extra £40 million [$51M U.S.] in Government funding next year. Teaching unions have welcomed the cash, but say it will still leave many schools out of pocket as they are facing mounting costs…. The Government has also announced more money to help cover the ballooning costs of supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or who require alternative provision….

 Stoke-on-Trent City Council recently announced plans to slash funding for pupils’ education, health and care plans in order to rein in its ‘high needs’ spending. Now the local authority will be getting an additional £4.8 million [$6.1M U.S.] in 2021/22 for high needs work.

Bury Times: (Midlands) Plans to open new specialist school in Bury announced

The specialist school free school is set to open in September 2022 at an as yet undisclosed location. … Jo Morgan, CEO of Shaw Education Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Bury Council to provide pro-active support and appropriate provision for learners in the borough….

The DfE has this week announced that it is to create 3,000 new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). … More than 400 of these places will be in the North West, at six new schools, including for children with SEMH, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Severe Learning Difficulty and speech, Language and Communication Needs….

Solihull Observer: (West central England) Plans agreed to open Solihull school for autistic children by 2022

A NEW free school for autistic children in Solihull will open within three years, the Education Secretary has pledged. The Department for Education has agreed a contract with a trust to run the new school, which will have 100 places for children aged 7 to 16 years old. … This week (July 19), the DfE agreed a schedule for 35 new special free schools to open in England from September 2022. The Forward Education Trust, which runs special schools in Birmingham, will run the free school in Solihull….

At the time, Coun Ken Meeson, cabinet member for education, said: “We know we have comparatively high rates of autism diagnosis in the borough. “On a practical level it also means we can educate more children and young people nearer to their homes….

Leicester Mercury: (Central England) New Shepshed special school will cater for 50 children

A primary school in Shepshed is to be converted into a special needs school for 50 children from all over Leicestershire….

The trust’s chief executive officer Peter Bell said: “We are delighted the DfE have announced our successful Free School bid. “The school is due to open in Shepshed in September 2023 and will cater for 50 children with social emotional and mental health needs from across Leicestershire…. Bowman Academy is one of a number of new special schools – as well as new classes in mainstream schools – being created by Leicestershire County Council

Winsford Guardian: (West Central England) Children in Winsford and Northwich most at risk of being excluded from school

PUPILS with special educational needs are eight times more likely to excluded, a new report has revealed.

Children who have been in care are five times more likely to be persistently absent. And girls are less at risk of formal exclusion which means that their absence is often not recorded. … A new report produced in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council has provided some key insights on which pupils are most at risk of exclusion from school and presents recommendations on how to address these challenges…. These children all have experiences of social care and/or have social emotional mental health (SEMH) needs.

Wiltshire Times: (SW England) New school to be built in Wiltshire for autistic children

AN academy which runs a Calne special school is expanding into the south of Wiltshire to offer places for 150 children with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs.

Oswestry & Border Advertiser: (West Central England)  Shropshire Council leaders respond to SEND criticism

URGENT work is underway to improve special needs and disability provision in Shropshire, four months on from a critical regulators’ report….Ms Yates also wrote that “the current speech and language therapy [SaLT] service specification is not fit for purpose” with children and young people experiencing “significant waits for assessment and treatment”. …She also said: “There is no effective pathway for specialist assessment of autism spectrum disorder [ASD] for children over five.”

Despite some recent action, a large number of children were still awaiting assessment, Ms Yates added. …

Newham Recorder: (Near London) New school for pupils with complex autism spectrum disorder to be opened in Newham

A new special school for children and young people with complex autism will be opened in Newham after the proposal secured government funding.

The school, which will cater for 105 pupils, is expected to open in September 2022 and will be built on land provided by the council at a site to be confirmed in autumn….In Newham, the number of children with highly complex special educational needs and disabilities has increased, in particular for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Primary age pupils identified with complex ASD rose 78 per cent from 2015 to 2018, which is leading to increased demand for ASD provision for secondary age children.

The council estimates it will require 800 additional places for complex or high needs-funded ASD pupils by 2025. …Even with the proposed new school providing 105 more places, 90pc of pupils with complex ASD in Newham will need to be educated in mainstream schools or resource provisions.

South Wales Argus: Special needs school in Caerphilly set for expansion 

Growing demand for pupils aged three to 19 to be accommodated at the school has led the council to look into expanding the site. …Currently there are 178 pupils who attend the school and nearly all have a statement of special educational needs for severe learning difficulties, physical and medical difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties or autistic spectrum disorders. …The council’s proposal is to build an extension on the playing field next to the school, which will allow room for an extra 80 pupils….

Grimsby Live: (NE England) Plans revealed for new school in Scunthorpe and academy trust selected to run it

Plans are in place for a new school in Scunthorpe for post-16 students with special education needs….

Teesside Live: (NE England) New free school for 100 pupils and 50 staff to be built on Teesside

A new special needs school for 100 children from across our area is set to be built in Redcar and Cleveland. …It will serve 100 young people with special needs, aged five to 18, and is due to open in 2022….The free school, employing more than 50 staff, will join 36 across the country offering alternative provision for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs and those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)….

Trust chief executive officer Christina Jones said: “We are very excited to be able to open a new free special school for the Tees Valley….

Harrow Times: (London Borough) Brent Council approves Brondesbury special needs school

A new special needs school will open in Brent after receiving planning permission from the council on Wednesday (July 22)…. Built on the site of the old Marylebone Boy’s School, it will accommodate up to 104 pupils from reception through to sixth form….

BBC News: (Southwest England) Somerset special education: School to open in Martock

A special educational needs free school for 120 pupils is to open in Somerset. It comes after an inspection from the education watchdog Ofsted found “significant weaknesses” which left some children’s needs unmet….

The school, in Ash near Martock, has been welcomed by the county council. Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said some of the children may have speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and others, social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH)…. The move comes as a 65-place specialist school for North Somerset got the go-ahead….

BBC: (Northern Ireland) Special school principals call for more to be built in Northern Ireland

The majority of special schools in Northern Ireland are “full beyond capacity” and more need to be built. That is according to a group representing special school principals.

BBC News NI had previously revealed that almost 300 children with a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) had no school place for September. … More than 150 were seeking places in special schools. Education Minister Peter Weir subsequently called the situation unacceptable. … The chair of Stormont’s education committee, Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle, also revealed that about 600 children in Northern Ireland were waiting longer than the statutory limit of six months for a statement of SEN. … On Wednesday, Mr Weir told Stormont’s education committee that 206 of the unplaced children still remained without a school place. …

Warrington Guardian: (NW England) New special free school set to be built in Warrington

A NEW school for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) is set to be built in Warrington. … The town will be getting 56 school places for children and young people, from Key Stage Two to Four, with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. … It is one of six special free schools, which have been approved to open in the northwest,…

Blackpool Gazette: (NW Coast of England) Take a look inside Blackpool’s new special school as building work is finally completed 

Head teacher Rachel Kenworthy said: “It has been a busy and exciting few months as we have been making preparations for the opening of the school in September. All the staff are keen to meet the first cohort of students, who will play a key role in the school’s development…. The Lotus School will provide education to up to 48 children aged 10 to 16 who have an Education, Health and Care plan for Social, Emotional and Mental Health.

Business Live: (NW England) Hundreds of jobs to be created as new school set for Chester’s historic Abbey Square

The day and residential school will have up to 75 places for children and young persons aged four to 19 years Hundreds of specialist job roles are to be created at a new school and centre of special educational needs and disability when it opens this autumn. … It will cater for pupils with a diagnosis of autism and/or severe learning difficulties, who may display behaviour of concern or behaviour that challenges families and services.

Wolverhampton Express and Star: (Central England) New school for autistic pupils to open in Wednesbury 

Long-awaited plans to open a special school with places for more than 120 autistic children in Sandwell have been approved by the Department for Education. … Councillor Joyce Underhill, Sandwell’s cabinet member for Best Start in Life, said: “I am delighted that Victoria Park Academies Trust has been successful….

Cornish Times: (Southeast England) Cornwall’s new free school set to open in 18 months 

Southeast England Cornwall’s new school for children with special educational needs will open in January 2022. …The special school, to be based near Bodmin, will provide 65 places for children aged from five to 16, and aims to become a centre of educational excellence for pupils who have a significant level of Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs….

Portfolio Holder for Children, Health and Well Being and Liskeard Councillor Sally Hawken, said: ’I welcome this announcement from the Government which will help us to move on to the next stage of making this new free school a reality….

In Your Area: (SE England) New Free School to Open in Harlow in 2022

A new free school is to open in Harlow, Essex, after the Department for Education (DfE) issued approval last week. The school is due to open in 2022 in new buildings off Tendring Road. …The Beckmead Trust specialises in support for traumatised young people with social, emotional and mental health issues (SEMH), autism and challenging behaviour. The new school, which will be Beckmead’s second school in Harlow, will provide high-quality education for 90 pupils aged seven to 19 who have severe and complex SEMH issues. Fifteen of the places will be residential.

Dr Jonty Clark, chief executive of The Beckmead Trust, said: “We are very proud and feel very privileged …

Yorkshire County Council: (Northern England) Special school for Selby takes major step forward

The Department for Education has chosen the Wellspring Academy Trust as the sponsor to take on the school, which will meet a long-standing need of families in the area with children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The proposed school will cater for up to 100 pupils aged three to 19 and the Government expects that the school, which is one of 35 announced for England, will open after September 2022….“Special needs school places are in increasing demand and we are proud to be able to play our part – alongside county council partners – in meeting some of that growing need. …

Newcastle Chronicle: (NE Coast of England) Sunderland special school to expand after just three years

Plans to expand a Sunderland school to make way for more pupils have been given the green light. …Ashbrooke School, which opened in 2017, caters for children with a range of complex educational needs, communication difficulties and challenging behaviours and was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in its most recent inspection.

Gi Media: (NE England) Updates on Scunthorpe’s new school

Following the announcement of a government scheme to create up to 3,000 new school places across 37 new schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities, the new school in Scunthorpe will provide places for up to 60 pupils aged between 16 and 19 with special educational needs and disabilities. …

Special needs school places are in increasing demand and we are proud to be able to play our part in meeting some of that growing need.

Hemel Today: (Southeast England) Hemel Hempstead school helps set up new free school in Hertfordshire 

The Department for Education has announced that the James Marks Academy, which is being set up by a school in Hemel Hempstead, has been approved to open in Hertfordshire.

The James Marks Academy will be made up of Roman Fields and James Marks Academy, and will serve pupils with high anxiety and mental health issues; those pupils for whom a traditional SEMH school would not be deemed appropriate…. When full, the school will offer places for 60 pupils, all of whom will have an EHC plan; some may also have additional diagnoses such as ASC.

Belfast Telegraph: (Ireland) Tanaiste says special needs provision will not be resolved by courts or lawyers

The Tanaiste has said parents going to court to ensure their children with special needs get proper provision, is not going to resolve the overall issue. … “Children are being left behind,” he told the Dail. …Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty raised the issue of special needs assessment taking up to two years in some cases, despite it being set out in law that assessments should take place within six months. …

TES: Exclusion rate double for SEND pupils without EHC plans

SED pupils without an education, health and care plan twice as likely to be excluded as those with plans. …Special education needs and disabilities pupils who do not have an education, health and care plan (EHC) are more than twice as likely to be permanently excluded from school. … And they are more than five times more likely to be permanently excluded than pupils without SEND, according to Department for Education data published today.

And campaigners have highlighted funding cuts through which vital services for SEND children have been axed leaving them without adequate support.

East London Guardian: Waltham Forest Council defends special needs funding cuts

Waltham Forest Council insisted campaigners have “nowhere near” enough evidence to prove that its decision to cut funding for special needs education was unlawful. … A total of 1,374 children will see their funding reduced if the change goes ahead.

TES: Exclusive: DfE criticised for SEND ‘tick-box’ response

The chair of the Commons Education Select Committee has said he is very disappointed by the government’s “tick-box” response to its major report on the SEND system and has vowed to question education secretary Gavin Williamson on the matter.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon has strongly criticised the way in which the Department for Education responded to the committee’s report, which had warned that a generation of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities were being failed…. The report made 38 recommendations or key findings, but Mr Halfon said he felt the response from the department – which was more than six months late – had not seriously engaged with them.

Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser: (Midlands) Pledge to turn around failing SEND services 

COUNCIL and health bosses have pledged to turn around failing special needs and disability services for Shropshire’s children following a damning inspectors’ report earlier this year.

The inspection was carried out in January to assess whether legally required disability and special needs reforms were being implemented successfully in the county. It found leadership across the area was “weak” and that children were waiting too long for assessments for autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, as well as speech and language therapy.

It was also critical of the inconsistent input of various services into children’s education, health and care (EHC) plans, and the high rate of school exclusions among children with special needs and disabilities….

RTE: (Ireland) Delay for special needs assessment too long – Varadkar 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has acknowledged that children are waiting far too long to get an assessment of need.

 He was reacting to questions about figures obtained by RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, showing over 5,000 children are waiting longer than the law permits to have needs such as autism formally assessed.

Figures released by the Health Service Executive show that the average waiting time was 19 months, despite a legal requirement for the assessment to be completed within six months….

He said nine out of ten children are being failed by the State and failed with their legal right….

There are striking similarities in all these stories. They’re about increasing numbers of disabled students, but it should be noted that they are children with mental health issues or autism—conditions which prevent them from attending a regular school.  Special ed has become behavioral ed in many cases.

Something is clearly happening to a generation of British and Irish young people and if leaders care at all about the future of their countries they need to sound a massive alarm and address this ticking time bomb honestly and thoroughly—something so far no one has done. Time is running out.


About the Author: Anne Dachel is a CHD Contributing Writer and an Age of Autism Editor. Find out more at  LossofBrainTrust.com


The above article July 2020: Injured Kids, Society Costs originated on Children’s Health Defense and is re-published here by ‘contribution’ with attribution to it’s author Anne Dachel and Childrens Health Defense.


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