Disabled children, families and supporters to march at 28 locations across England and Wales

Parent-led ‘SEND NATIONAL CRISIS’ to deliver 13,000-strong petition to Downing Street

Campaign to raise awareness of the national crisis in education for disabled children and young people

Thousands of parents, disabled children and young people, and professionals who work with them will be taking to the streets on Thursday 30 May 2019 under the ‘SEND National Crisis’ banner, to demand that the Government acts to end the national crisis in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding and delivery.

SEND National Crisis will deliver a petition with over 12,000 signatures to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street at 12pm on 30th May. This will be followed by a rally in nearby Parliament Square from 1-3pm.

Campaigners will also be demonstrating at 26 other locations across England and Wales in the first national action of its kind. The National Education Union is supporting the protest and is calling for its members to join demonstrations in their local areas. Other supporters include The National Deaf Children’s Society, The Disabled Children’s Partnership and Simpson Millar Solicitors.

In 2014, a new law, the Children and Families Act (CFA), gave children with SEND the right to what was intended to be a holistic Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) from birth up to the age of 25. However, since 2010, spending on high needs in Education has failed to keep pace with demand.

In addition, cuts to school and college funding have led to vital teaching assistant support being cut, while many Children’s Centres, which provide essential support for disadvantaged and disabled children, are also being closed, again through a lack of funding. As a result, more disabled children are out of school, or being illegally excluded or off-rolled, and more families are having to fight to get the right provision, something the SEND reforms were intended to end.

Hard-pressed parents, already coping with children who have complex needs, and often with low incomes because of caring duties, want to highlight the damage being caused to disabled children. Their access to appropriate—or sometimes any—education, social care, or health
provision is being curtailed by councils and health bodies cutting key services and failing to comply with their legal obligations.

Nadia Turki (co-founder of SEND National Crisis) shared:

“We can no longer remain silent when our children are suffering for want of adequate Government funding. We are demanding a necessary change to the framework to ensure workable regulatory controls, and to ensure SEND funding is ring-fenced to ensure delivery precisely where it is most needed.”

Poppy Rose (co-founder of SEND National Crisis) shared:

“The Government said austerity was over, but families say the lack of funding for support is having a detrimental effect on the mental health, life chances, and outcomes of disabled children and young people.

While the reforms extended statutory support to age 25, young people have consistently found it impossible to secure suitable education or training. It is an intolerable situation that means access to rights, equality, inclusion and the prospect of a bright future are being wrongfully denied to many thousands of disabled children. This is not just a national crisis; it is a national scandal.”

Key statistics:

  • Funding is in crisis: the funding gap for high-needs SEND was at least £287m last year and is projected to reach £1.6bn in the next 2 years
    [Source: ISOS Partnership “Have we reached a ‘tipping point’? Trends in spending for children and young people with SEND
    in England”, December 2018]
  • The SEND Reforms are in crisis: so far, half of all local area SEND services have failed their Ofsted / CQC inspection
    [Source: Ofsted website, 17th May 2019]
  • Local authority decision-making is in crisis: parental appeals to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) have increased by 80% since the SEND reforms began and parents win nine in ten SENDIST appeals that reach a hearing.
    [Source:HMCTS Tribunal Statistics Quarterly]
  • Complaints to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman about SEND have risen by 150% since 2015. The LGO upholds 87% of these complaints – the highest of any category they investigate.
    [Source: LGO evidence to the Education Select Committee SEND Inquiry, April 2019]
  • Children and young people with SEND are in crisis: pupils with SEND are six times more likely to be excluded from English state schools than pupils without SEND. Just 6% of people with learning disabilities are in paid employment.
    [Sources: Department for Education, “Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England”; IPPR North “Plans that work: Employment outcomes for people with learning disabilities”, April 2019]

Contact details:
Contact: sendcrisis_media@mail.com
Twitter: @SENDCrisis Facebook: @SENDNationalCrisis
Hashtags: #SENDNationalCrisis #OurKidsMatter #SENDamessage

SEND National Crisis UK march locations:

  • London: Downing Street (petition)
  • Parliament Square; Hackney Town Hall
  • Waltham Forest Town Hall
  • Berkshire: Forbury Gardens
  • Reading
  • Hertfordshire: Fairlands Valley Showground
  • Broadhall Way, Stevenage
  • Derbyshire: Hall Leys Park, Crown Square Matlock
  • Derby: Derby City, Council House
  • Buckinghamshire: The Exchange, Aylesbury
  • Surrey: Guildford 
  • Warwickshire & West Midlands: Leamington Spa
  • Sussex: The Level, Lewis Road, Brighton & Hove
  • Liverpool: The Bombed Out Church
  • Cumbria: Barrow-in-Furness, Railway Station


  • Birmingham & Walsall: Victoria Square, Birmingham
  • Isle of Wight/Hampshire: St Thomas Square, Newport
  • Dorset: Town Pump, Dorchester
  • Suffolk: Cornhill, Ipswich
  • Worcestershire & Herefordshire: Guildhall, High Street, Worcester
  • Yorkshire & Humber: Outside Leeds Art Gallery
  • Norfolk: Chapelfield Gardens
  • Essex: Castle Park, Colchester
  • Cambridgeshire: City centre, Peterborough
  • South Gloucestershire & Bristol: College Green, Bristol
  • North Wales: High Street, Rhyl
  • Halton: Victoria Park, Widnes
  • Hull & East Riding: Queen Victoria Square, Hull
  • West Sussex: Worthing
  • Manchester: Outside Central Library
News SEND National Crisis March, 30 May 2019