Concerns raised over plans to overhaul services for youngsters with special educational needs

Bournemouth Echo: County Hall County Hall

PARENTS of children with special needs have raised concerns about plans to change how the service is provided.

Dorset County Council, which is responsible for education, is overhauling how it caters for youngsters with special edu-cational needs.

The proposals include plans to identify four hubs around Dorset made up of an existing special school and at least one nearby mainstream school.

Any existing mainstream schools which currently offer special provision would be converted into part of one of the new hubs, or phased out.

But in a consultation, some parents hit out at what they consider a ‘cost-saving exercise’.

A report to the county council’s Children’s Services Overview Committee at County Hall in Dorchester stated that 73 per cent of respondents – 21 people – saw the move as a ‘positive way forward’.

Presenting the report to councillors, Lyn Frith said although only 21 people responded to this direct question about how far they agreed with the overall principles of the proposals, the consultation process had included a greater number of parents and professionals.

The report states: “Some respondents felt they could not give an informed perspective until we had further consulted on the actual model that was intended for implementation.

“For some respondents, the proposals were seen as purely a cost savings exercise, even though it was made clear the proposals are not about reducing places but changing what it is that places provide and where they are provided.”

Cllr Daryl Turner said: “My worry with consultations is that you get the vocal minority responding, whereas the maj-ority never do.”

The move comes as the Children and Families Bill became law after receiving Royal Assent last week, pledging to improve support for children with special educational needs.

Cllr Mike Byatt said: “This is a move to a more localised, hub-based approach. But we need to be aware of any important issues coming out of the statutory changes.”

Director for children’s services Sara Tough, who prepared the report for councillors, said the changes will reduce the need for children to travel long distances because the provision they need is so far away.

But the feedback from the consultation noted that: “There was a balanced view on the need for transport, with some parents citing the need for their child to be in the right school, not simply the nearest.”

Parental choice will continue to be a priority, councillors were assured, and any changes will be implemented at a ‘natural transition’ phase for each child, such as the end of primary school.

The changes will be introduced gradually over the next three years. Councillors at the committee noted the progress of the review.

Comments (5)

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7:37am Wed 26 Mar 14

John T says...

;some parents hit out at what they considered 'a cost saving exercise'.

Welcome to the real world of teaching and public service in ConDemned Britain!
;some parents hit out at what they considered 'a cost saving exercise'. Welcome to the real world of teaching and public service in ConDemned Britain! John T
  • Score: 6

7:52am Wed 26 Mar 14

echor23 says...

Hopefully they are talking about children with actual special educational needs rather than the mass of children that are repulsively behaved and immidiately labelled autistic or with the so called ADHD. The amount of children now labelled with educational needs is now staggering simply because of bad parenting. The first thing any council needs to do is assess and learn what true educational and special needs are before they undertake anything else.
Many kids now who are labelled autistic show no actual true sign of autism. I know real autism well and it bares no resemblance to the thousands 'diagnosed' each year!
I'll await for the rant responses especially from the mothers of autistic children :)
Hopefully they are talking about children with actual special educational needs rather than the mass of children that are repulsively behaved and immidiately labelled autistic or with the so called ADHD. The amount of children now labelled with educational needs is now staggering simply because of bad parenting. The first thing any council needs to do is assess and learn what true educational and special needs are before they undertake anything else. Many kids now who are labelled autistic show no actual true sign of autism. I know real autism well and it bares no resemblance to the thousands 'diagnosed' each year! I'll await for the rant responses especially from the mothers of autistic children :) echor23
  • Score: 0

9:42am Wed 26 Mar 14

Old Colonial says...

So the report very clearly states that respondents require more detailed information before feeling able to comment. Is the council prepared to issue further data for public review, or is this a done deal as seems to be standard practice these days?
So the report very clearly states that respondents require more detailed information before feeling able to comment. Is the council prepared to issue further data for public review, or is this a done deal as seems to be standard practice these days? Old Colonial
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Wed 26 Mar 14

losthope says...

echor23 wrote:
Hopefully they are talking about children with actual special educational needs rather than the mass of children that are repulsively behaved and immidiately labelled autistic or with the so called ADHD. The amount of children now labelled with educational needs is now staggering simply because of bad parenting. The first thing any council needs to do is assess and learn what true educational and special needs are before they undertake anything else.
Many kids now who are labelled autistic show no actual true sign of autism. I know real autism well and it bares no resemblance to the thousands 'diagnosed' each year!
I'll await for the rant responses especially from the mothers of autistic children :)
Not a rant, just a request for information. Autism is a spectrum, and manifests in different ways in different people and at different times. If you can define 'real autism' and categorically say that it 'bares' no resemblance to the thousands diagnosed each year, then could you please explain how you do it and share your expertise with the medical profession?

Alternatively, could you be a little less quick to criticise parents who are doing their best with children who can be very difficult when exposed to a world they don't understand, that's too loud, bright smelly and crowded and far too full of people who judge without knowing the facts?

And, incidentally, could I say a massive thank you to all those people who don't judge? They make it possible for my autistic children to learn the social skills other kids pick up naturally and have helped me deal with tough situations more times than I can count. Without them, we wouldn't be able to do half the stuff we do.
[quote][p][bold]echor23[/bold] wrote: Hopefully they are talking about children with actual special educational needs rather than the mass of children that are repulsively behaved and immidiately labelled autistic or with the so called ADHD. The amount of children now labelled with educational needs is now staggering simply because of bad parenting. The first thing any council needs to do is assess and learn what true educational and special needs are before they undertake anything else. Many kids now who are labelled autistic show no actual true sign of autism. I know real autism well and it bares no resemblance to the thousands 'diagnosed' each year! I'll await for the rant responses especially from the mothers of autistic children :)[/p][/quote]Not a rant, just a request for information. Autism is a spectrum, and manifests in different ways in different people and at different times. If you can define 'real autism' and categorically say that it 'bares' no resemblance to the thousands diagnosed each year, then could you please explain how you do it and share your expertise with the medical profession? Alternatively, could you be a little less quick to criticise parents who are doing their best with children who can be very difficult when exposed to a world they don't understand, that's too loud, bright smelly and crowded and far too full of people who judge without knowing the facts? And, incidentally, could I say a massive thank you to all those people who don't judge? They make it possible for my autistic children to learn the social skills other kids pick up naturally and have helped me deal with tough situations more times than I can count. Without them, we wouldn't be able to do half the stuff we do. losthope
  • Score: 5

8:33pm Wed 26 Mar 14

ShuttleX says...

Cllr Daryl Turner said: “My worry with consultations is that you get the vocal minority responding, whereas the maj-ority never do.”

Didn't hear you and the rest of the parasites complaining when the minority bothered to vote, whereas the majority didn't bother. Minority or not, they are entitled to be heard, not slated by some pen pushing, allowance grabbing, couldn't make it in the real world waste of space.
Cllr Daryl Turner said: “My worry with consultations is that you get the vocal minority responding, whereas the maj-ority never do.” Didn't hear you and the rest of the parasites complaining when the minority bothered to vote, whereas the majority didn't bother. Minority or not, they are entitled to be heard, not slated by some pen pushing, allowance grabbing, couldn't make it in the real world waste of space. ShuttleX
  • Score: 2

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