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Parents of SEND students desperate as reforms ‘fail a generation’

A report from a cross-party group of MPs has found that parents are suffering as they face a battle to secure school spaces and adequate support for their children. Parents have attempted suicide, been forced to give up their jobs, and re-mortgage their homes, the education select committee found at the end of their 18-month enquiry.

MPs heard “countless” examples of pupils facing off-rolling and exclusion, with schools actively discouraging parents from enrolling children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Some students have been made to wait for years for an appropriate school place.

The report stated that parents need a cocktail of “special knowledge and social capital” to make headway in a system “thrown into crisis” and “despair”, and even then those who are successful are left “exhausted” by the experience.

Penny Hoffmann-Becking, a parent and member of SEND Family Voices, was quoted in the report: “I feel that many parents I speak to are living in a constant state of anxiety.”

Conservative MP Robert Halfon, chair of the committee, said: “The Department for Education (DfE) cannot continue with a piecemeal and reactive approach to supporting children with SEND.” Halfon added: “rather than making do with sticking plasters, what is needed is a transformation, a more strategic oversight and fundamental change to ensure a generation of children is no longer let down.”

DfE ‘set councils up to fail’ on SEND reforms, says education committee (Schools Week)

Special educational needs reforms ‘failing generation of children’ (The Guardian)

Parents of children with special educational needs attempting suicide as schools lock them out, report suggests (The Independent)

Lack of SEND support ‘failing a generation of pupils’ (TES)

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£25,000 donation from Ronnie and Sally Wood

Ronnie and Sally Wood have nominated Parents In Need as one of their favourite charities. Consequently, following the extremely successful Rolling Stones tour in the US this year, we were sent a cheque for £25,000 from the proceeds!


We have also recently received huge donations from the Brenley Trust, the Swire Charitable Trust, St James’s Place, Beacon Lodge, Albert Hunt and Baily Thomas. We are massively grateful to all our supporters who champion our cause.

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At the beginning of 2017, we were able to help our first family and by the end of 2018 we had assisted a further 15 families. We now have a further nine families in the process of being supported.

We have managed to do this through our fundraising activities, applying for grants and thanks to the generosity of our supporters – our ‘Champions’.
The award winning Stephen Mangan became our patron and hosted our Spring quiz. Judith Hill joined us as a part-time fundraiser. And a brand new website was built so that we could spread the word more clearly.