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NEWHAM FINDS COMMUNICATION SOLUTION TO EDUCATION APPEALS

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A group of parents of autistic children are in dispute with East Sussex CC ...
A group of parents of autistic children are in dispute with East Sussex CC

over education provision for their children, BBC Radio Four's Today

programme reported this morning.

The parents set up their own school, 'Step by Step', specialising in

teaching autistic children, after they were unhappy with the provision

offered by East Sussex. The parents of six children took the case to a

tribunal and lost, but refuse to accept the judgment.

Peter Weston, assistant director of children and young people at East

Sussex, said the provision that the parents wanted was too expensive. 'The

additional cost, if they went to Step by Step instead of one of our special

schools ... is over one and a quarter million pounds.

'That would be the equivalent of a whole class in one of our special schools

that we wouldn't be able to run, or we'd have to put it on the council tax.'

Today reported that East Sussex has the highest incidence of education

appeals outside London.

In contrast, Newham LBC has reduced the number of appeals over the past few

years. James Hourigan, from the counil's special needs team, says this is

due to better communication.

'If councils don't communicate well with parents, parents can feel let down

and over time they begin to mistrust the local authority, so our job is to

keep the communication open.'

Newham's policy is to keep special needs children in mainstream schools

wherever possible.

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