If I told you thousands of children with red hair were denied their legal right to a state education because of the colour of their hair you would be appalled.
When I tell you that thousands of children in the UK with special educational or physical needs are denied their statutory education and their families subjected to a Kafkaesque existence of seeing their child reduced to a thing to be feared, what say you to that?
The hard facts of this very common experience are known, from Government down. So familiar are Local Authorities with this ugly dance, they spend millions every year on legal fights with parents whose only request is that their child’s special need be met in an educational environment best suited to them. Not much to ask is it?
In fact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said in October that these families face a “disproportionate burden” to get the education their child needs. He says while the Educatonal Health and Care plans introuduced in 2014 (and due to cover all SEN cases by April 2018) aren’t a total failure, 80% of complaints have been upheld. Near total failure maybe?
Consider this. Children with a special educational need or diasbility will die earlier, are twice as likely to be bullied at primary school, seven times more likely to be excluded, less likely to be employed, more likely to live in poverty, have much higher rates of mental illness, are more likely to end up in prison.
That list is not inevitable.
It’s in the warp and weave of the system that claims to be built for these families.
Too often it’s a closed room with only the walls to climb.