Unlike the chicken and the egg there is no dubiety over what should come first when considering resources for the vulnerable in our society. Our local authority is about to embark on a “consultation” with the public over what services to cut. Unfortunately the proposals put forward by the council leaders will have an unfair affect on children with Additional Support Needs (ASN.) Many other groups could be similarly affected it has to be acknowledged. The proposed axing of a large percentage (45%) of ASN classroom assistants will impact on vulnerable children at a crucial point in their lives. Presumably the powers that be have decided that these children may just have to manage without and yet the lack of adequate classroom support is already a hot topic at our local support group and beyond. There is a legal requirement surely that such needs must be met? Just what was the rational in the closed committee that justifies potentially ignoring children’s Additional Support Needs for education? What message does this give to children, parents and professionals about the validity of these needs? We are talking here about serious life long conditions like Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, Down’s Syndrome, Sensory Impairments and Physical Disabilities. The small amount of Educational Psychology input is also facing a a proposed cut. So much energy and effort has went into raising awareness about disability and the issue of ASN that it seems incredible that this is even being considered. Surely senior management posts should be stripped to the bone before considering removing this essential support?
Perhaps to expect a truly ‘needs led’ service puts you in fantasy land in these days of brutal cuts to welfare and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable. In all my years in social work, social care and as a parent I have never came across a service that fully merits that description but some reasonable compromise must be strived for surely? To fail to acknowledge that ASN needs exist or that every child has a right to suitable education is morally indefensible.