Couple fighting for son's needs

PUBLISHED: 14:06 01 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:12 31 May 2010

Adriana Forte with a copy of her petition – Pic: Dick Harding

Adriana Forte with a copy of her petition - Pic: Dick Harding

A COUPLE whose dyslexic son attends a special needs school 50 miles away have launched a petition. Tom Husband, 40, and Adriana Forte, 43, of Duck Street, Wendens Ambo, have begun an online petition on Number 10 Downing Street s website calling for change

A COUPLE whose dyslexic son attends a special needs school 50 miles away have launched a petition.

Tom Husband, 40, and Adriana Forte, 43, of Duck Street, Wendens Ambo, have begun an online petition on Number 10 Downing Street's website calling for changes in the educational system.

They were unhappy that while in a mainstream school their 10-year-old son, who has speech problems, only received seven-and-a-half hours support from an unqualified learning support assistant.

Since enrolling him at a special needs school in Brettenham, 50 miles away, he gets one-to-one teaching.

Mrs Forte said: "Since John was five years old and in reception class we have had to fight for any support for our child. It is a battle we lost.

"The Government's implementation of its "inclusion policy", which aims to teach as many children with SEN in mainstream schools as possible, is failing. It is woefully inadequate."

"We want the Government to have a Special Educational Needs (SEN) system that is up to the task."

Last summer, the Commons education select committee recognised the current SEN system is not 'fit for purpose'.

Mrs Forte said: "We thought the Government had to respond to the committee's report, but it hasn't, and it's appalling.

About 1.5million children in England are judged to have SEN. These could be behavioural problems, autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia or mobility problems.

The LEA, Essex County Council, assesses whether a child has SEN and will provide a statement of SEN if certain criteria are met.

A council spokesman said: "Once a child is assessed and given a statement of SEN, a number of support systems are put in place including an individual educational plan, which reflects the objectives set out in the statement and a specialist teacher who is allocated to the school.

"Children and young people who have statements of SEN are monitored by their school and have an annual review involving pupil, parents and teachers."

David Willets, the Shadow Education Secretary, is one of more than 600 signatories on the petition and agrees that much needs to be done to improve SEN policy.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter