YoungMinds responds to the SEN green paper

Hannah Wright
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10 Mar 2011

YoungMinds welcomes Special Educational Needs green paper but raises concerns that early intervention services are at risk.

Lucie Russell, Director of Campaigns at YoungMinds, said: “We welcome plans to develop training for teachers so that they are better equipped to help and support children with SEN, many of whom also have mental health problems. Our Parents Helpline hears from many parents whose children have special educational needs and mental health problems. In 2010, 15% of our callers were in this situation.  Often the mental health problems result from the child’s needs not being adequately met in school. Children whose learning needs are not supported or understood can go on to suffer debilitating problems such as depression, low-esteem and behavioural problems.”

She added: “We know that many children and young people turn to their teachers when they have problems. But, while we welcome much of what is in the green paper, we are concerned that the early intervention focus is at risk. Many specialists who support teachers, and have the skills to identify children who have SEN early, are being made redundant. Across the country, educational psychologists are losing their jobs, as councils are forced to make cuts. Often it is educational psychologists who spot children who may be struggling and intervene to make sure they get the help they need. Even with enhanced training, teachers can only do so much. They need the help of those with specialist skills in order to make sure children and young people with SEN achieve all they can in the education system.”

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