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Cross Party Support for SEND Families in Barrow Borough

Yesterday councillors on both side of the political spectrum met with representatives from Furness Parents and Carers Disability Forum and the National Education Union to discuss the SEND provision locally and how they can work in partnership to promote better provision for SEND pupils in the Borough.

The meeting came about after a number of Councillors attended the SENDCrisis march in Barrow last month. Cllrs Hayley Preston and Shaun Blezard discussed the need to support the SEND families of the Borough further. Though provision is a County Council issue, they felt that Borough Councillors could be advocates for their residents.

“After hearing the many stories from parents who are having to fight to get their children the provision they need to get support in schools I just knew I had to do something more after the amazingly positive experience of the march” said Cllr Preston, who is bringing a motion to full council in July. “After talking to Cllr Blezard we decided to bring the motion to council. We are really pleased that Cllr Hazel Edwards, leader of the opposition, came to today’s meeting and that we had a very positive meeting that we can move forward cross party”.

Nicola Brockbank from Furness Parents and Carers Disability Forum said “We have cuts to SEND education and the recent publication of the SEND Ofsted/CQC report which requires Cumbria County Council to submit a Written Statement of Action stating how they are going to improve education for children and young people with SEND. There has never been a more urgent time for the Local Authority and CCGs to begin the process of effective and meaningful consultation and co-production with parent/carers.

Local families are exhausted by fighting for their children’s legal right to an appropriate education and seeing their potential being wasted.

We have the skills and the desire to change things in this county, so let’s work together and start improving the lives of our young people with special educational needs and disabilities.”

Mai Harrison from NEU who was one of the organisers of the SENDCrisis march stated “Working with the BBC is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of our young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. We are campaigning for better SEND provision by targeting the gaps identified in the devastating OFSTED report of SEND in Cumbria. With the support of the BBC, we can take our campaign to the policy makers at the county and national levels.”

The SEND motion will be presented at the Full Council meeting in July and we are looking forward to finding more ways that the Council can support our SEND families.

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