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Special needs training in schools

Author: Angela Sandhal

I recently had the opportunity of attending a forum group meeting organised by Parent Voice where parents were able to ask questions of the key education service leads at Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.

It was a great event and although much of the discussion was certainly very positive and lots of useful information was shared with parents about the services available to support their children, there was one point that came up which I found very striking.

At least two parents raised concerns about schools not organising appropriate training for their teaching and/or support staff.  The excuses given to parents seemed to centre on funding problems and waiting lists.  Yet we heard from the local authority in response that there are training programmes in place which all schools – including Academy schools – can access.

Therefore the story about the child being restrained inappropriately while the school is on a waiting list for training – apparently since September – was especially difficult to understand.

Whilst I would hope these examples do not represent the majority, the consequence for schools of not taking advantage of these training opportunities, which are clearly available to them, is that they may find themselves having to respond to claims from parents about disability discrimination of their child which can be heard in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.  There schools cannot hide behind funding issues or unreasonably lengthy waiting lists: if the SEND Tribunal orders training to take place then schools have no choice but to complete the training within the timeframe set by the tribunal.

Any parents who need further advice on the issue should contact the local SAIDSEND service initially or take legal advice.