South West Wales

Protest over Swansea special needs education changes

Protestors

A protest has been held against changes to education services for children with emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties in Swansea.

Specialist teachers provided by the council currently work alongside health specialists at Trehafod Child and Family Clinic.

But as of next month the provision of education there will be stopped.

Parents say they are "outraged" but Swansea council says children will still be given educational support.

A group of about 40 people staged the peaceful protest on Thursday evening outside Swansea's Guildhall about the changes to the educational support offered to children, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Kendra Cassidy, whose daughter attends Trehafod, said the changes would affect many people.

"I'm outraged by this and I think a lot of parents would be as well," she said.

"It's a provision that offers a huge amount of support for some families and their children and it's going to be very disappointing and it will have an impact on a lot of people."

In response to the idea that home tuition could be provided by specialist teachers in the same way, Ms Cassidy added: "I think that is part of it and they should receive that as well.

"However, I think there's a place for group settings, so I think both would be needed."

In a letter to the council's education department seen by the BBC Wales, a child psychiatrist said the decision to withdraw the service from Trehafod was "extremely short-sighted".

Swansea council it wanted to "reassure every child and parent that they will still receive education support from the council which is appropriate to their needs".

"In future Children with ASD and ADHD will continue to be supported by education in a variety of ways including specialist placements and specialist provision, support from specialist teachers, educational psychologists and speech and language specialists."

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