Hackney Special Education Under Attack

by Hackney Special Education Crisis

Hackney Special Education Under Attack

by Hackney Special Education Crisis
Hackney Special Education Crisis
Hackney Special Education Crisis was formed in November 2017 to oppose Hackney Council's proposals to change funding arrangements for pupils with education, health and care plans.
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Hackney Special Education Crisis
Hackney Special Education Crisis was formed in November 2017 to oppose Hackney Council's proposals to change funding arrangements for pupils with education, health and care plans.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: May 22, 2018

Judicial review issued

Our judicial review against Hackney Council has now been issued. Here is the press release from the legal team: https://www.irwinmitchell.com/newsandmedia/2018/may/lawyers-demand-rethink-on-hackney...

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Who are we?

We're a group of Hackney parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) who came together to oppose cuts to special needs funding, which will have a negative impact on the education of all children in Hackney. In November  2017 we mounted a campaign against Hackney Council's ill-judged proposals to change SEND funding arrangements. As a result of the incredible support the campaign received from Hackney residents who care about education, the Council was forced to reject its own proposals. However the Council still plans to make significant cuts to SEND funding.


The case

On 1st April 2018 Hackney Council is making cuts of 5% to high needs funding, but there are much bigger cuts to come. They are planning to make "savings" of around £5 million through further cuts to SEND funding in mainstream schools and special schools. Transport and pupil referral units are also on the hit list. 

What are we trying to achieve?

We want to put a stop to these cuts for all children with special educational needs and disabilities in Hackney. We would also like to send a clear message to Hackney Council and to other councils making similar cuts that this isn't acceptable.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities want to learn and achieve at school, but to do this they often need extra support. When SEND funding is reduced, schools have to choose what provision to cut:

  • The speech and language therapy that develops communication?
  • The specialist teacher who helps children to learn?
  • The teaching assistant who supports them in the classroom?
  • The equipment that enables them to see or hear?

It's an impossible choice for schools to make. Whatever they cut it will have a negative impact, not just on disabled children but on all pupils, increasing workloads for teachers and support staff and creating a less inclusive environment. We want to ensure schools have the support and funding they need, so that all children can thrive at school.

How much are we raising and why?

We need to raise £2,000 for the fee for initial legal advice before applying for permission to issue a Judicial Review. This would not be covered by legal aid.

What's the next step?

If the initial advice determines that a Judicial Review is the way forward, we can then apply for legal aid for our children. However we may need further funds at this stage for the investigation and to obtain advice from Counsel. We have been advised that this could cost a further £2,000.

If you would like to find out more about the impact of the cuts on the education of children and young people in Hackney, please follow us on twitter @SENDcrisisHack  or facebook @HackneySpecialEdCrisis or email us at info@hackneyspecialeducationcrisis.co.uk 

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Update 4

Hackney Special Education Crisis

May 22, 2018

Judicial review issued

Our judicial review against Hackney Council has now been issued. Here is the press release from the legal team: https://www.irwinmitchell.com/newsandmedia/2018/may/lawyers-demand-rethink-on-hackneys-unlawful-special-educational-needs-policies-jq-216498 … #SEND



Update 3

Hackney Special Education Crisis

May 16, 2018

Legal aid granted

So, the bad news first...

We've just heard that in addition to the 5% cuts to high needs funding in mainstream schools Hackney Council is planning to forge ahead with further cuts of £5m to special needs provision:

https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2018/05/15/deputy-mayor-send-cabinet-reshuffle-chris-kennedy/

And now the good news...

We're delighted to be able to tell you that the claimants in our group legal action against Hackney Council have now been granted legal aid and the legal team is preparing to issue judicial review proceedings. More news soon.

Update 2

Hackney Special Education Crisis

May 10, 2018

Hackney Council's response

Hackney Council has now responded to the initial letter sent by our legal team. They have not agreed to abandon their funding bands for education health and care plans, restore the 5% funding cuts or amend the new format education, health and care plans. They have given an assurance that they will meet all statutory SEND needs regardless of the cut/banding, but we remain concerned that this is not reflected on the ground. It is difficult to see how adequate provision can be maintained with less money, particularly since schools tell us they were struggling even before the cuts.

Through examining the paperwork our legal team has also identified other policies/practices that may be unlawful, and we are exploring what further action we might take in relation to these.

The next stage is to apply for legal aid on behalf of the claimants. This process will begin in the next few days.

You can see coverage of our campaign here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr7u5aSj2RHs4ZyMWqQ5VtQ?view_as=subscriber

https://www.hackneyspecialeducationcrisis.co.uk/news.html

We are immensely grateful for your ongoing support.

Hackney Special Education Crisis

Update 1

Hackney Special Education Crisis

April 8, 2018

Thank you

Thanks to your incredible support we met and exceeded our funding target in just over 48 hours. It means so much to know that people care about this. We are about to start work on the legal nitty gritty and will keep you posted with updates.

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