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Reforms of special education needs criticised

Press Association

Rod Minchin

school corridor generic
Getty Images
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "No child should be held back from reaching their potential, including those with special educational needs."

Reforms that aimed to give children and young people with special educational needs, and their parents, a greater say in the support they receive in England have been criticised by MPs.

The House of Commons Education Committee said that when the Children and Families Act was introduced in 2014, it established an "ambitious" programme to transform the provision of special needs education.

It said the ambition of the Act "remains to be realised".

"Let down by failures of implementation, the 2014 reforms have resulted in confusion and at times unlawful practice, bureaucratic nightmares, buck passing and a lack of accountability, strained resources and adversarial experiences, and ultimately dashed the hopes of many," the report said.

The reforms replaced a system where a local education authority carried out an assessment and in the most severe cases provided a statement of a child's special needs.

The changes saw health and care needs incorporated alongside educational ones.

David Ellis, chief executive of National Star - a Cheltenham-based charity which supports young people with complex disabilities and learning difficulties - welcomed the report.

"What has happened is that an aspirational act was not shored up with the appropriate funding," he said.

"The result is a confrontational system - not just between parents and local authorities but between health, education and social care teams."

Rather than focusing on short-term budgets and cost saving we need to focus on the individuals and how we can support them to become active and equal members of society.

David EllisChief executive of National Star

Kings Quarter regeneration plans to go on show

Kings Quarter demolition

New designs for the £85m regeneration of Gloucester's Kings Quarter will be revealed later today.

At the start of the year the old site was demolished to make way for new shops, 40,000 square feet of office space, bars and restaurants as well as 150 new homes.

The plans have been submitted to Gloucester City Council and are awaiting approval.