Guarded welcome to government's special needs plans
CHILDREN’S EPILEPSY CHARITY GIVES GUARDED WELCOME TO GOVERNMENT SPECIAL NEEDS PLANS
The Government’s Special Educational Needs plans have today been given a guarded welcome by the country’s leading children’s epilepsy charity – but concerns about funding for the right education and support for the 60,000 children with epilepsy, especially those with complex needs, remain.
Young Epilepsy welcomed the proposals for early identification of need, more joined up thinking about a child’s health, education and care requirements and a greater role for the voluntary sector.
However the charity expressed concerns about funding for the most vulnerable and disabled pupils.
Young Epilepsy’s Chief Executive, David Ford, said:
Epilepsy can have serious effects on a child’s learning, communication and behaviour, especially if not properly diagnosed and treated, so the proposed joined up approach between education, health and care is a positive step forward.
However, we know that parents of students at our special school, and families of children with epilepsy across the country, will want reassurance that their child’s needs will be funded – we are particularly concerned that proposals to introduce personalised budgets for those with disabilities should set aside sufficient funding to support the child properly. These young people often need highly specialised provision which simply isn’t available in the maintained sector.
Children and teenagers with epilepsy can face a
triple whammy – seizures, limited support from schools and the NHS, and stigma. This is still – wrongly – attached to the condition. For these reasons Young Epilepsy is campaigning for improvements to services for under 18s with epilepsy.
According to the charity, little has changed from the publication of the Warnock report in 1978, which concluded that
many children with epilepsy may have serious problems in concentration and behaviour, which affect their learning... Their particular difficulties are not always recognised by schools and colleges.
Young Epilepsy will respond formally to the Green Paper consultation in due course.
For case studies or further information/comment, please contact Sarah Clifford, Head of Communications at Young Epilepsy on 01342 831532 or 07825 879211.