On May 30, Thursday, thousands of disabled children and their parents marched across England as part of the National Day of Action on Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding. The protest, which was organized by a group called SEND National Crisis, was against massive fund cuts in the provisions for disabled children in education and medical care.
In London, SEND National Crisis delivered a petition to Downing Street, signed by over 13,000 people, urging the government to act and end the “national crisis.” This was followed by a march to Parliament Square, where a rally was held.
According to reports, marches were organized in about 28 points across the UK, including London, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Derby, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex, Liverpool, Cumbria, Norfolk, Essex and several other cities.
SEND National Crisis group leadership wrote on their online portal, Special Needs Jungle, that “the reforms in this sector were designed to end the adversarial system that all-too-often sees parents at loggerheads with local authorities over SEND provision. But the new system that covered education, health and social care provision was never likely to come cheap. And doing it in a holistic way that included culture change was always going to be more than the cost of changing the nuts and bolts”.
“The government’s abject failure to foresee the true cost of implementation, has heaped chaos, pain and misery on the very families they purported to help. This morally bankrupt, seemingly psychopathic, Brexit-obsessed Government (if you can still call it a Government) is daily harming the life chances of a generation of children to whom it promised a brighter future. Our disabled children have become collateral damage to a broken ideology”, they added.
The Tory government claims that they are increasing the funding available to SEND services, including an extra £250 million to help manage costs. But a report released by the National Education Union (NEU) demonstrates the government is presenting an incomplete picture.
The Morning Star reported that according to the NEU report, the extra cash provided by the government is less than 21% of what was cut from the services in the past four years.