Right of Reply: Katy Simmons
The co-ordinator of IPSEA, a charity for carers of special needs children, responds to our leading article on statementing
Thursday 24 September 1998
In 1981, Parliament agreed that individual children with special education needs should be entitled to proper assessment and suitable provision. Once these needs are identified, they must be met, even though their LEA may argue against spending the money. The statement is legally binding: it specifies the child's needs, and the help they require. No child is entitled to Rolls Royce provision: only the neediest of children get statements. But if LEAs don't deliver, then parents can take action.
The statement, then, ensures that disabled children actually get the help to which they are entitled. Your editorial dismisses this entitlement as "bureaucracy". But for many families, this is the only guarantee they have that their child will get the help they need. Yes, many families experience delay, maladministration and deep frustration with the process. But these problems mainly arise out of LEA attempts to avoid their legal obligations to children.
Not surprisingly, most LEA officers find legal commitment irksome. Their lives would be easier if they could simply use their discretion and be untroubled by the force of law. Their voices came through clearly in last year's Green Paper, when the Government proposed cutting the numbers of children with statements. Parents should rely on the good will of schools and LEAs, said Mr Blunkett.
What good will? Even with the law in place, families battle to get the help their children need. I say to your leader writer - meet some of the desperate families who contact this organisation, feel shame at what you wrote, and join us in asking Mr Blunkett to confirm his commitment to the legal framework which guarantees help to the most vulnerable members of society.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
voicesPeople moan that Christmas is too commercial, the spirit lost. But it is a time to over-indulge, and always has been, says DJ Taylor
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
food + drinkA trifle without custard? Surely not! Nonsense – and here’s three to finish your festive meal that prove it
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
- < Previous
- Next >