Save Our Schools (Isle of Wight) campaign will be marching this Wednesday (30th) on behalf of Isle of Wight SEN children and families. You can join them from 2pm at St Thomas’s Square, Newport to take part in the mini-march to Church Litten where you can hear speakers. Ed
Are you a parent? Imagine having to fight for your child to be able to get an education.
Imagine your child has an additional need, and you must fight for the support and help your child needs to be safe and content, to grow and to fulfil their potential.
Imagine having to navigate a confusing and complicated system to receive the support that your family needs to manage.
That, and so much more that I cannot articulate here, is the reality for hundreds of the must vulnerable children and families here on the Isle of Wight.
Daily SEN failures
Island children with special educational needs (SEN), and their families, are being failed every day.
Unless you are someone who loves an Island child with SEN, you might not know that some children are spending years gridlocked in a system, waiting for their children to be assessed or referred or to receive relevant help and support they are legally, morally and rightfully entitled to.
When their needs are finally identified, they often are not met, due to a myriad of reasons, including the closure and cuts to vital services, lack of resources and support, lack of help to navigate system and access available support, and many other issues.
Home schooling hotspot
You might not know that the IW is a home education hotspot. One in 50 children are home schooled here, only two areas in the UK have a higher rate of home education than the Isle of Wight.
Some (not all) of the parents of these children feel they have no option but to home educate. You might not know that on the Island, double the amount of kids were admitted to hospital in mental health crisis in 2015/16, than the national average.
SEN families at their wits’ end
If you don’t know and love someone with SEN, you won’t know how some families are absolutely at their wits’ end.
It is exhausting, fighting, waiting, feeling (entirely unreasonably) like you have failed your family, like you cannot make sure your kids receive the very basic things that everyone else takes for granted; education, safety, opportunity, social engagement.
Cuts to funding
Island children and families really need your support. For the first time in more than 20 years, school funding is facing a real time cut.
By 2020, £3.4 million is due to be cut from IW schools, which have already experienced wave upon wave of cuts, and are at breaking point.
Cuts to SEN services
SEN children, the kids that need more support, not less, are being hit hardest. If you don’t love a child with SEN, you might not know that the IW council plans to cut services for vulnerable children.
These cuts include:
- Reducing the number of secondary Autism Spectrum Disorder specialists by 25%
- Reducing the number of Island Learning Centre places by more than 10%
- Cutting Special Educational Need outreach support
- Reducing the hourly rate offered to support those with Education, Health and Care Plans.
Stand with us to defend SEN children
It is always the most vulnerable that bear the brunt of such cuts. Maybe that’s because the vulnerable are less able to defend themselves, and the government believe that the general public don’t care enough to stand up and protect vulnerable children. Let’s show them how wrong they are.
Will you stand with us to defend SEN children?
Marching on the Isle of Wight
SOS Isle of Wight are part of the national Save Our Schools campaign, a parent-led campaign that began in Brighton & Hove and is campaigning against the massive funding cuts to education. We are marching this Wednesday on behalf of Island SEN children and families.
We believe every child has the right to the very best education that the country can offer, and we’re not prepared to stand by as our must vulnerable children are let down.
Where and when
Join us this Wednesday 30th May at 2pm, St Thomas’s Square, Newport . Banners, whistles, placards, kids all welcome!
If rain persists, the protest will remain in the Square.
Stay up-to-date with the latest by Liking the SOS Isle of Wight Facebook Page.
Article by Colleen Brannon on behalf of Save our Isle of Wight Schools. Ed