Special needs children are being failed | Letters

Readers respond to the latest select committee report on families’ struggles to get educational support for their children

This is the most damning select committee report I’ve ever read (Children with special needs plunged into ‘nightmare of bureaucracy’, 23 October). Line after line, it shows that the education system for disabled children is completely broken. Parents are forced to become protesters, lawyers and bureaucrats to stand any sort of chance of getting the support their child is legally entitled to. The government now has a golden opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the system, and finally end the toxic culture and wanton law-breaking throughout the special educational needs system. They must now deliver for an entire generation of disabled children. It’s time to let parents be parents.
Steve Haines
Director of policy and campaigns, National Deaf Children’s Society

• The Children and Families Act 2014 hasn’t failed. It is the implementation of the act that has failed. This aspirational act was not shored up with the appropriate funding and the result is that we now have a dangerously confrontational system – not just between parents and local authorities but between health, education and social care teams. The systemic culture change that is now required must be led from central government downwards. Rather than focusing on short-term budgets and localism, we need to start focusing on the long-term benefits to individuals and the value of centres of excellence. In that way we can support all individuals to become equal and active members of society.
David Ellis
Chief executive, National Star

• Little did I think, when I was part of the process of implementing the 1981 Education Act, following the Warnock report, that I would be seeing headlines in 2019 showing how desperate the situation has become for children with special educational needs. It is no good deploring the actions of councils when the situation has been orchestrated by a series of cynical governments, through starving local authorities of funds. We should judge our society according to how well the most vulnerable are treated. Politicians are falling far short.
Linda Rhead

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