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Step Forward for Parents of Special Needs Children

Settlement Means Significant Step Forward for Parents of Children with Special Education Needs

QPEC is very pleased that the settlement announced today between parents of children with special education needs and the government will mean a significant step forward in special education policy development.

Parents have been left out in the cold for many years and this settlement for the first time gives them a voice in the process of policy evaluation and formulation. There has always been a lot of talk about partnership but for most parents this has been a myth. The chance to change that begins today.

It is of course a disgrace that a group of parents with very limited resources has had to fight for 5 years to get even this far. QPEC has been proud to support them against the passive indifference of government policy development.

This settlement does not signal a solution to problems which have plagued special education policy since the introduction of SE 2000 from 1998. However if the process of engagement with policy and resource questions is followed through by Group Special Education in good faith then by the end of next year we would hope to see very clear policy change proposals from the government which should include -

  • An increase to 2% of school age children receiving ORRS (On-going and Reviewable Resourcing Scheme) funding. (The figure is currently 1% although the initial proposals were for 2% of children to receive this assistance)
  • Much better targeting of special education money to schools such as through the Special Education Grant. This grant is for children with moderate special needs. However it is bulk funded to schools so that whether a school has 2 or 20 children with moderate needs the funding is the same!! This provides an incentive for schools to discourage special needs children from enrolling.
  • Government support for special education units where parents and schools have clearly identified this as a special education service they require to enhance the learning of students.
  • Policies which bring an end to “main-dumping” whereby children with special education needs are placed in mainstream classes without support.
  • Wherever a child receives their education this choice must be resourced properly by the government.
  • QPEC will do its best to support parents through this process.

    John Minto -
    National Chairperson

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