School Funding — [Sir David Crausby in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 6:15 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Labour, Brentford and Isleworth 6:15 pm, 4th March 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that it is both the numbers and the quality of staff at special needs schools that make such a difference to children’s outcomes. But that is for the children who get into the special schools: I hear again and again from parents, teachers and governors about children who desperately need to be assessed. Even once assessed, they desperately need the right support either in their mainstream school or in a special school, but they are not getting it. They have to wait—not because of a lack of will, but because of a lack of professional support and places. In London, we have the additional problem of a massive shortage of professional psychological and psychiatric support in child and adolescent mental health services. Children with special needs who are not supported not only are suffering, with an impact on their future; their troubles have an impact on the other children in the class, affecting their learning. That is unacceptable.

Teachers and governors have written to tell me a number of things, including the inability to provide maintenance to replace air conditioning—in Hounslow under the flight path, the windows cannot be opened in summer. Another cannot replace an inclusion mentor and children are not getting the high-quality art and technology support because the technician has had to be cut.