Fail­ing the vul­ner­a­ble

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - FURTHER -

MOV­ING TO a new col­lege is dif­fi­cult enough at the best of times. But if you’re a young per­son with high needs, the sys­tem you have to ne­go­ti­ate can be tor­tur­ous.

A straw poll of na­tional spe­cial­ist col­leges this week showed that the in­sti­tu­tions are still wait­ing to find out if any­where be­tween a tenth and a half of their stu­dents have been granted the fund­ing to at­tend. That’s with less than a month to go un­til the start of term.

How these stu­dents, with the most se­vere dis­abil­i­ties, and their fam­i­lies can plan for such as life-chang­ing move, of­ten to the other end of the coun­try, in such a short time is hard to imag­ine.

And for spe­cial­ist col­leges, the un­cer­tainty makes plan­ning, or­gan­is­ing teach­ing and fund­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate cur­ricu­lum nigh-on im­pos­si­ble. But the most damn­ing in­dict­ment of the im­pact of the Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies Act 2014 has to be that, as a re­sult of its re­forms

– to of­fer “sim­pler, im­proved and con­sis­tent help” for SEND learn­ers – young peo­ple such as Ali­cia Jack­son are miss­ing out on years of ed­u­ca­tion (see op­po­site).

The sys­tem isn’t work­ing – and vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple, who need our help the most, are the ones los­ing out.

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