Dan Scorer, senior campaigns and policy manager at learning disability Mencap:
Families up and down the country will be deeply disappointed by today’s Children and Families Bill.
The Government had promised the biggest reform of Special Educational Needs for 30 years, finally bringing together health, education and care support.
This Bill is a missed opportunity, which will change very little for parents, who currently face a long, hard fight to get the right education and health support for their child with a learning disability.
Mencap is disappointed that the Government ignored the recommendations of charities and the Education Select Committee, and failed to prevent a postcode lottery by not introducing national standards for special educational needs. Without this, Mencap is concerned that the quality of a young person's education will continue to be determined by where they live, and not what needs they have.
Mencap is also deeply concerned that the Government hasn't place a duty on the NHS to deliver the support that children need to meet their health needs. Many children with a learning disability, particularly those with profound disabilities, have serious health issues, which have a huge impact on their educational development. Mencap believes that young people will never reach their potential if these health needs are not also addressed.
For further information or to interview a Mencap spokesperson, please contact the Mencap press office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7696 6017.
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.
The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability.