Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (Suffolk)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:10 pm on 5 November 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sandy Martin Sandy Martin Shadow Minister (Waste and Recycling) 7:10, 5 November 2019

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely correct; he has put his finger right on the main point.

Two days ago, in response to the news that I had secured this debate, I received an email from a distressed parent. She says:

“My son has been out of school for 3 years in December. He was signed off by our consultant paediatrician as medically unfit for mainstream school. He has an Education &
Health Care Plan. He has all the paperwork to state he has autism with a pathological demand avoidance profile but he cannot sit through the formal assessment as it runs for too long and he finds it too difficult to cope in the situation.

I have contacted the local authority so many times with regard to providing my son with an education;
I have put in formal complaints and yet he still has no education.

I applied to the tribunal last December as the Local Authority insisted in his Education Health Care Plan that mainstream schooling was suitable for him, but they simultaneously refused to name a school he could go to.

The tribunal have made numerous orders ordering the Local Authority to name a school for my son but these have all been ignored.

We went to the tribunal last Tuesday, 29th October, at which the Judge told the Local Authority that they need to name a school on his education and health care plan and that the tribunal had to be adjourned until 13th December because of this, adding more of a delay to my son getting an education. He is now 12 years old.

My son is still without an education and we are in limbo.

My son deserves the correct education but he has been thoroughly let down by the education system. The strain of fighting the system tires you out but you still have to keep going. It should not be like this—every child has the right to an education. We keep being told that it is not the label that counts, but the child’s needs. Well we know our son needs an education but we cannot access any support for him to get that education because he doesn’t seem to have the right label.”

I had already secured this debate when that message was sent to me. The reason why I applied for the debate was that parent after parent has written to me, emailed me, met with me at my surgeries, and invited me to visit their child’s school or visit the school that their child would be going to if they had enough support in place, or the school that would be ideal for the child, but which has no more capacity.