The area where we live is ruled by a benevolent Master. Benevolent in that the minions that represent the Master are professional and honestly want to do the best they can for the local townsfolk. But when it comes to dealing with the local SEND community the minions are forced to follow well worn paths of process and procedure which would wear down even the most compassionate individual.
I recently met some of the higher echelon minions, listened as they talked about the future options for the local SEN community, and I was surprised by a couple of things.
These are intelligent, professional, approachable people. Yet I was surprised at just how ingrained in their thinking adherence to process is and, secondly, how they truly believe that none of the local SEND mess is in their control.
- The level of funding available locally – not their fault
- The complexity of processes that have to be followed – not their fault
- The fact that they bend those processes to create a one size fits all solution when and where it suits them irrespective of individual rights – not their fault
- The fact that they recruit blatantly under qualified minions into complex and specialist support roles – not their fault
- The fact that they commission a therapeutic service that’s so light touch it’s barely recognisable as therapy at all – not their fault
- The fact that they are slowly closing the gates and starting to deny support, therapies, specialist school places, transport etc; to the kids with the best chance of an independent social and working life in favour of the most severe – not their fault
- The fact that they honestly believe that parents should be more realistic in their expectations for their CYP’s future because of their needs – not their fault
- The fact that there are no aspirations for the outcomes of these CYP despite the huge sums invested in getting them through the education and social care systems till they are 16, 18, 21…. but not 25 – not their fault
And if a benevolent Master feels that they aren’t in control, and the local SEN community who rely on that Master are receiving less and less support, then I think it’s fair to say that the SEND reforms would seem to be a catastrophic waste of money that kept consultants in business and robbed front line support from the very people that needed it most.
And the whole mess seems at this point to be so complex, so unnervingly broken from top to bottom, that I just can’t see how it will ever change for the better.
And so we stand… and we watch…. as the gates continue to close.