Parents force Hackney Council to reverse plans

Post date: 
Friday, 9 March 2018
Campaign News
Education campaigning
Parents and children gather with banners outside Hackney Town Hall

A group of parents have successfully challenged Hackney Council’s proposed changes to funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

In November 2017, following a consultation paper issued by Hackney Council, concerned parents got together to set up an ad hoc campaign group against the council’s proposals - Hackney Special Educational Crisis . This group, which includes parents of children with vision impairment, launched the campaign after the council proposed significant changes that would reduce the support that children with SEND would receive.

This included reducing the number of children that have Education Support Plans: a statutory ‘plan of action’ guaranteeing what support a child will need at school.  They also proposed to greatly reduce the amount of money and resources allocated to support SEND children and young people. 
Clare Norton Smith, parent of an 8 year old child with vision impairment, and part of Hackney Special Education Crisis, said: “We are delighted to hear that Hackney Council has backed down on its consultation plans to change SEND funding arrangements. This victory was thanks to the incredible response from Hackney residents and we need to build on this to protect our children's education and stop further planned cuts.  
We remain extremely concerned that the Council is still planning to proceed with cuts of five per cent to all Education, Health and Care Plans and huge cuts to special school funding, with indications that further cuts are planned for next year. 
RNIB supported the campaign, emphasising the vital importance of specialist support for children and young people with vision impairment to help them achieve their full potential in life.
Lucy Dixon, RNIB Policy Manager, said:

“There is a range of support such as accessible materials, mobility training to enable children with vision impairment to get around the school and playground, and support from teaching assistants that can all make a big difference to their lives and help give them the same learning opportunities as their friends. Without that support, participating in school life and learning becomes much more difficult and their future prospects much worse. We were really pleased to work with parents to challenge Hackney Council’s plans and are delighted that they have succeeded in protecting SEND funding.”