Lack of support in schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities says Hemel woman

The council says it is committed to making sure that all children with SEND receive the education they need

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:39 am

A woman from Hemel Hempstead has criticised the council's department for education over lack of support for children with special educational needs.

She says there is not enough support from Hertfordshire County Council for children who have special educational needs or learning disabilities and require more help in the classroom.

Hertfordshire County Council says it is committed to making sure that all children with SEND in the county receive the education they need and deserve.

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The woman, who does not wish to be named, said: "The truth is that the list for children waiting for specialist schools in Hertfordshire is at its breaking point.

"Too many children are on a part time table or left at home with very little education while they wait for a specialist school.

"A five-year-old boy has been told his placement has come up but not until 2024/2025, in mainstream he stays on a maximum of 20 mins a day, another child also five, is only in from 9am till 12.15pm, five days a week, waiting for his ECHP to be done.

"Another five year-old is only in school for a few hours before they call his mum, because they can't cope with him.

"He is highly autistic but has been put in mainstream school and there is not enough support, it's not the school's fault, he should not be in mainstream school."

She added: "A nine-year-old boy has been on a part time timetable of an hour a day since 2018, he got excluded in March this year.

"He was out of full time education because his mum took him out of school, in November 2018 we got him part time school for 1 hour a day, and then in March he was permanently excluded for punching the deputy head teacher.

"He now has one hour a day with a tutor, who he does not engage with, and there is no sign of his placement. His SEN worker does not reply to emails or phone calls."

"There are many more children who are not in full-time education as mainstream schools cannot deal with the children who have additional needs, there needs to be more support.

"It's ridiculous, there is a lack of provision for these children, not just in Hemel, but across the whole of Hertfordshire.

"The education department in Hertfordshire should be doing more to support these children.

"Instead of paying for private tutors when these children have to do part-time schooling, they could use the money to open new schools and give these children more support.

"The lack of schools for the children with needs is shocking not just in Hertfordshire, but the whole of the UK."

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “While we don’t comment on individual cases, we are fully committed to making sure that all children with SEND in Hertfordshire receive the education they need and deserve, and work in partnership with young people, parents and schools to that end.

“Hertfordshire, in common with many local authorities, is experiencing high demand for specialist provision and in the past two years has created 233 new places in special schools.

"Our Special School Place Strategy 2020-23 sets out our commitment and investment to create over 300 new permanent special school places, and the development of a countywide pattern of specialist resource provision in mainstream schools, in the next five years.

"In addition, we are currently working hard to ensure that all children are provided with an appropriate school place for September 2021, including through capital enlargement projects at a number of existing special schools to create more than 70 new places by the Autumn term.

“We’d encourage anyone who has concerns about specific cases to contact us directly so we can discuss the issues with them.”