Commenting on a new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for SEND on the experiences of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) during the Covid-19 pandemic, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“This cross party report should serve as an urgent wake-up call to government.
“A decade of underfunding and an ongoing failure by the government to properly get to grips with systemic failings has been exposed by the pandemic.
“The report captures how children and young people with SEND have too often been an after-thought for government during the pandemic, and in many cases schools have been left to pick up the pieces with little support. This report amplifies everything we have been saying about the experiences of children with SEND during the last year – and before.
“The government has been rightly criticised for the lack of support it has given SEND schools, from being overlooked in guidance that didn’t take account of SEND settings, to not being given the correct PPE and resources.
“The government must learn from this. There is a pressing need to put pupils with SEND at the heart of the educational recovery agenda. The current SEND review being carried out provides the ideal opportunity to do this.
“We agree entirely with the recommendation for greater investment. The government has said that no child should be left behind – now is the time to put its money where its mouth is and make sure the most vulnerable children in society are included in that promise.”
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