Children protest SEND changes outside Hackney Town Hall

Outcry: children protest SEND changes outside Hackney Town Hall. Photograph: Hackney Citizen

Campaigners have called for a “moratorium” on cuts to special needs services as Hackney Council puts its name to a joint letter calling for a boost in government funding.

Hackney Special Education Crisis (HSEC) welcomed today’s letter from 39 local authorities and six trade unions to Education Secretary Damian Hinds, calling for a “significant increase” in funding for children with special needs and disabilities (SEND).

HSEC – a group of parents, carers, teachers, and activists – has applied for a judicial review against Hackney Council’s five per cent cuts to high needs SEND funding – cuts the council blames on demand outstripping government funding grants.

HSEC spokesperson Gillian Doherty, who has been a fierce critic of Hackney Council’s SEND policies, said on Twitter today: “Pleased to see Hackney on the list.”

But the group also said the local authorities which signed the letter should stop all SEND funding cuts immediately.

HSEC said on Twitter: “This is great. But to be truly meaningful for high needs pupils, all council signatories should call a moratorium on all SEND cuts for disabled children in their area NOW to protect provision.”

Reshuffled: Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble. Photograph: Hackney CouncilEND

It added that the high needs SEND cuts are “unlawful” – the basis of its judicial review, which is handled by legal firm Irwin Mitchell and paid for through crowdfunding and legal aid.

Today’s letter was signed by Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, and cabinet member for education, young people and children’s social care, on behalf of Hackney Council.

Cllr Bramble lost the SEND brief to Cllr Christopher Kennedy in a cabinet reshuffle after the 3 May local elections.

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