By Anne Dachel
Comparing the state of special education in Britain and in the U.S. leaves me mystified.
All a person has to do is look at the last hundred or so posts on Loss of Brain Trust and it’s quite clear that special needs students are overwhelming the education system in the U.K. and it’s costing them dearly. Yet, incredibly, at the same time officials seem happy about it.
Money seems to be no object.
Here’s what I posted over the past week.
Portland: (S. England)
A NEW school for children with additional needs in Weymouth and Portland has moved a step closer to reality - with a site and opening date now confirmed. …
It will provide up to 75 places for children and young people aged 14-19 years with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)….
Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, said: “I am delighted that this exciting and much-needed special free school is finally confirmed and will now go ahead.…
Alongside this investment by the DfE, Dorset Council is investing a £37.5 million [$50M] plan to improve the lives of Dorset children with SEND,
Gateshead: (NE England)
Gateshead has a “new flagship state-of-the-art special school.”
Gibside is a primary school for pupils with a range of special needs (moderate learning disabilities (MLD), severe learning disabilities (SLD), profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and autism spectrum condition (ASC).
The new school accommodates 170 pupils,…
Plymouth: (SW England)
Plans for a new school so the most vulnerable children can have the education and care they deserve closer to their homes are being developed.
It aims to deliver a special school providing 120 places for children aged from 5 to 16, and the school will become a centre of educational excellence for pupils who have a significant level of ASD and Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs….
Devon County Council’s cabinet member for schools, Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, said: “This is part of a multi-million programme by the county council to open new special schools and increase the number of places in our existing special schools. …
Cllr Dave Downie, Plymouth City Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “We are delighted…
Burgess Hill: (SE England)
There were smiles all round at Woodlands Meed College, in Burgess Hill– not to mention the opening of a bottle of bubbly – as contractor ISG started preparatory work on Monday (November 22).
Headteacher Adam Rowland said: “We are delighted to be working with ISG to build the new college and we are all incredibly happy to see them arrive on site today.
“It’s going to take a huge team effort to build this college adjacent to the current college, yet we are excited…
The school will cater for 100 children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for learning and skills, said: “Everybody at the county council is extremely pleased to see the work to rebuild the college now officially begin. This is an extremely exciting moment…
We are very happy to be working with them and are all eager to see the new college take shape.”
Wadsworth: (London borough)
Wandsworth councillors have approved proposals to expand support for schools for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). …
The funding will pay for 119 additional places at schools for children with a range of needs….
Over the past five years, the number of Wandsworth children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) has increased by 78%.
This figure is predicted to increase by a further 8.9% over the next decade….
The decision by councillors to expand school places follows hot on the heels of a £153,000 [$205K] council investment in improving the facilities at a playground on Wandsworth Common, designed for use by children with disabilities and special needs….
It supports profoundly disabled children with cerebral palsy, visual impairments, hearing impairments, severe developmental delay, children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, children with varying degrees of learning disability, children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, children with ADHD and also children who are still being diagnosed.
- Anglia: (E. England)
Two new special educational needs units at Stowupland High School and Mendlesham Primary School have taken in their first cohort of pupils. …
The two units will provide 18 school places at each school with potential to increase this to 24….
"They are part of our £45million [$60M] investment to create 870 new SEND places for children and young people across Suffolk."…
"We are delighted…
Surrey: (SE of London)
This new Surrey school is specifically for children with complex social and communication needs, such as autism. It has started off with a small number of children in Reception, Year 3 and Year 7, but will grow to accommodate 152 students.
The school has been set up because many children require special school placements, but they often have to travel a long way from home to reach a suitable school. Fox Grove is now the fourth school in Surrey for children with autism,…
Scary as these stories are, they’re just one week’s worth of coverage on the downfall of education and the decline of children.
If local council members and educators would stop rejoicing over yet another special school and look at the big picture, they’d have to realize that something is very wrong with kids today.
Britain has had laws similar to those in the U.S. for the past 45 years requiring that special education be provided for disabled children.
So why are the numbers continuing to increase? Why is the demand constantly growing? Why is AUTISM a common feature of these stories?
IF this were happening in the U.S. those of us in the autism community who’ve long tried to wake people up to the epidemic all around us, would be using these stories as evidence that something is very wrong with children in the 21st century.
Incredibly, no one in the U.K. is sounding even a timid alarm over this. It seems there are endless millions of pounds to meet the exploding demand that they’re so “delighted” about.
There was one more interesting story in the news in the U.S. last week. It was from my state of Wisconsin.
On Nov 22, PBS Wisconsin published the piece, A chasm between Wisconsin's special-ed needs and resources.
It seems the state and the feds aren’t coming through with all the funding that’s necessary to cover the cost of educating disabled students. There were also some troubling comments that got my attention.
Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, “a civil rights lawyer who has sued multiple school districts on behalf of special education students in order to force schools to provide the services they need,” commenting on the failure of government to cover half the SPED cost said this: ‘The Legislature sooner or later, unless it's all going to crumble, needs to accept their responsibility to provide appropriate education for all our children.’
This ominous statement was followed by one from state Rep. Rob Swearingen from Rhinelander. He specifically talked about the impact of autism.
‘I'm not an expert on autism, I can tell you this: It's not going away. And the state better start addressing it more than what they're doing now.’
That’s an absolute that the British clearly understand as well. AUTISM IS NOT GOING AWAY. Be prepared to PAY AND PAY.