The government has come under fire for allowing 272,000 pupils to leave school before any improvements are made for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Responding to the SEND green paper in parliament, Bridget Phillipson – Labour’s shadow education secretary – said the government’s “hollow” ambitions had already failed thousands of families across England.
Ministers launched a review into improving support in both mainstream and special schools in 2019, meaning nearly 1,000 days had passed before they published the SEND green paper this week. The proposals will now go to a public consultation for another 13 weeks.
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“Years have passed since reform was needed and children’s time in the education system is slipping away,” Phillipson said in the Commons.
Roughly one in six children in England has a special educational need or disability, equating to around five in every classroom.
Around 272,000 young people with SEND will have left secondary school since the review was announced in 2019, according to Labour analysis of government figures.