SEN kids will have less right to a good school than a teachers child!

Rosie Fergusson's picture
The Coalition Government’s plan under Mr Gove to repackage the country’s educational assets into isolated commodities ready for sale or lease continues at some pace. Flattery (“let us free you from the despotic LEA shackles so you can fly high and free oh outstanding head” etc etc ) and financial coercion with all the subtlety of a brick bat have proved impossible for good schools to withstand.

What remains now is enhancing recruitment to the convertor academies (CAs). In the revised School Admissions Code , due to be approved in the Commons on the 1st Dec, Mr Gove has chosen to introduce preferential places for the children of teaching staff (against strong advice from key parties including teaching unions and members of the revision committee itself). By ignoring their warnings of a “brain drain” of staff to the CA’s and Free schools not to mention driving a division between parents and teachers it is clear that Mr Gove wants to provide CA’s/Free Schools with a stronger non-financial recruitment advantage over the LEA maintained schools. This is strangely at odds with his ongoing departmental review on how to keep top quality staff in challenging schools.

The contemptible aspect of the revised Admissions code is the fact that the LEAs , who are responsible for placing and funding children with Special Educational Needs (SENs), have no power to place a child in the growing numbers of state funded CA or Free Schools without applying to the school for permission. If the CA refuses then the LEA can appeal directly to the Secretary of State but it seems safe to say Mr Gove will have a pretty full postbag come admissions time and it’ll be the aggrieved Free school candidates that will be shouting the loudest.

Even after a consultation period Mr Gove and Co. are perfectly content with their disgraceful proposal that SEN children and their parents now have less right to a good school than the children of teaching staff and children in care/adopted/fostered .

I actually feel sorry for the Coalition MPs having to sit helpless and let this Code pass through on 1st December .[ it must be like watching a bully kicking a puppy ..even after you've given him your sweets to make him stop]
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Margaret May Brand's picture
Sat, 19/11/2011 - 13:32

From the very beginning of this Academy/Free School saga, I have expressed concern about children with SEN as I felt that they would get a raw deal. It seems that I was right. So, are we looking at a future where all schools are Academies or Free Schools and the sole role of the LEA is statutory work such as statementing. No-one will want these statemented children because although there may be a financial advantage to accepting them in your school, they will not attain the required number of A - C grades at GCSE.

Are these children to be pushed around from pillar to post unwanted and unloved? What will happen to Special Schools? Are they to become Academies? Will they remain under Local Authority control? What is the future for LEAs? - 1 officer, 1 Educational Psychologist, 1 School Doctor (employed by the Health Authority??) and a nurse to do the messy bits!

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