Parents and charity workers to march over 'failures' made by Sheffield Council towards children with special needs

Parents and charity workers are set to hold a march in Sheffield today over claims the council is failing children with special needs.
Parents and charity workers are set to hold a march in Sheffield today over claims the council is failing children with special needs.
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Parents and charity workers are set to hold a march in Sheffield today over claims the council is failing children with special needs.

Campaigners say the authority is using finances rather than needs to shape its policies for youngsters with autism and other learning disabilities.

They say children are missing out on places at special schools because the council is taking too long to set up education, health and care plans. The plans are legally binding agreements that cost councils money.

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These delays, campaigners say, force parents to go through months and years of appeals and tribunals to get the help their children require. And they have accused the council of changing its policy to save money despite there being no cut to the Send budget. The council admits it has made mistakes, which the authority this week said it 'truly' regretted.

The march will start from Devonshire Green at midday, after which time protesters will make their way to the Town Hall.

Autism charity, Sparkle Sheffield, has organised the demonstration to highlight the issues.

A spokesman said: "Sheffield City Council Special Educational Needs Department do your duty.

"Stop neglecting our children, and suppressing their needs to save money. You are causing long-term damage to our children by denying them their full rights to their entitled care, provision and appropriate education.

"Give our children the support they need to be the best they can be. Stop destroying their potential.

"Autistic children have individual needs, no two are the same. And children with other special needs also need more support. Give our children what they need to become amazing adults and the skills [they need] to reach their full potential."

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