In response to news that families have launched a High Court Challenge against the government’s  Special Education Needs Funding Policy,  James Robinson, Policy Lead for Children and Young People at Mencap, said:

“When children and young people with a learning disability miss out on the right Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) support, their health, social care and other areas of their life can also be negatively impacted. 

"The SEND reforms provided an opportunity to help address some of the barriers that some children face by focusing support on the individual needs and ambitions of the children and young people they are being implemented to help. But this will only happen if there is sufficient funding in place. 

“The additional £350 million announced at the weekend is welcome, but will not stretch far enough to drive the improvements that we, and the families of people with a learning disability, urgently need to see. 

"With the number of people with a learning disability in this country on the rise, the time is now to ensure sufficient funding and support for today and tomorrow's young people with a learning disability."


For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

Notes to editors

1. Mencap’s current trustees are Geoff Alltimes; Elaine Hindal; Katie Hollier; Stephen Jack OBE; Derek Lewis (chair); Linda Redford; Graham Williams; Andrew Wilson and David Wolverson.

2. Mencap trustees are appointed for a four-year term and can serve two in total. Responsible for the charity’s governance, the trustees have substantial experience of learning disabilities in a personal, voluntary or professional capacity.

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

Mencap provided direct support to 5,231 people with a learning disability in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2017/2018 and answered nearly 13,000 calls through the Learning Disability Helpline. The charity celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016.

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email

What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.

People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.

Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.