It’s amazing what you come across on a daily basis. You get good discoveries that just make you go ‘wow’. The ones you can look at for ages and get a sense of wonder.

Then you get other discoveries which make you go ‘wow’ for entirely different reasons.

Today I came across a headline in one of our so called better newspaper – The Times.

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Pupils lose out as £400m schools funding diverted to special needs

Children have been losing out because millions of pounds earmarked for their education has been siphoned off to pay for special needs education, an investigation by The Times has found.

A surge in pupils categorised as having special needs has led schools to lay off staff, increase class sizes and cut back on subjects as councils raid mainstream education budgets to fund support for them.

One headteacher said that the funding reforms introduced in 2014 created a new education, health and care plans that were seen by some parents as golden tickets”

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Don’t try to read the article as you have to pay Murdock for the pleasure. No free news here. Where do we start with this article from the Rupert Murdock stable.

  • Am I missing the point here but surely SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) kids are pupils as well. My son is a pupil surely. Not according to this newspaper. Clearly The Times would like to scrap inclusion and go back to the good old days where too many kids where denied the opportunity of mainstream education. The Times journalists have an underlying principle to most of its commentaries. Well if I don’t need that support so why should we be paying for it.
  • This article is likely to cause some parents to start resenting and blaming SEND kids for school problems. It’s pouring fuel on the fire of resentment and bullying. Basically what this article is saying is the those SEND kids are robbing Normal kids. It is deeply irresponsible and distasteful journalism.
  • The article doesn’t mention the 1500 SEND kids who are unable to find a mainstream school that will accept them. But it according to this journalist – that doesn’t matter as they are not pupils.
  • Blaming SEND kids for the £400m short fall in school budgets is lamentable. Clearly according to The Times this countries crisis in class sizes and falling teacher numbers is purely down to SEN kids. Let’s not mention that school budgets have been severely squeezed as a directly consequence of Government funding cuts. Let’s not mention that this Government introduced a new assessment system but refused to fund that change, That’s the very Government this newspaper supports whole heartedly.
  • This country has had a crisis in SEND school funding for years. It is chronically underfunded, it has always been chronically underfunded. Recently it has been subject to further Government cuts. No mention of that then.
  • A surge in pupils categorised as having special needs. It makes it sound as if suddenly parents are inventing SEND symptoms. This country has an estimated 350000 kids with a learning disability. Most experts say this is a fraction of the actual number. So many kids go through education without having a learning disability diagnosed. For too many years we have failed to address this educational crisis. This is going to get worse as a direct consequence of Government Policy as the criteria for SEND diagnosis is becoming stricter – purely to save money and not based on any health grounds. This is at the same time that funding cuts are resulting in longer wait times for an actual diagnosis to take place.
  • Finally ‘a golden ticket’. Really. In our case it’s the reverse of the article. The funding which has been awarded to our son for his learning disabilities is being used to part fund Teaching Assistant support for the whole school. The article also fails to reference that most SEND parents are already paying for additional care and educational support. This so called Golden Ticket only covers a fraction of the true cost of support.

Once again journalism gives us an insight into the deep rooted problems we have in society. The media reflects the current views of our so called Governments. It shows how far we have to go. How difficult this fight is going to be. I will leave the last word to my old Dad. He would call The Times ‘excellent toilet paper’. Thats all its good for.

89 thoughts on “The Golden Ticket

  1. I think there are “more” kids with problems partly because school has become too unnatural for little children and they’re forced to sit still for too long. In the old days, there was more recess and play with a shorter school day overall, at least here. And no homework in the lower grades!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can’t even respond to this – it might take me months to cool down! Maybe it’s a lesson in how to create a new form of divide? that’s how it reads. Divide and conquer.
    Swear words erupted as I read.
    It’s like offering an aspirin to a man run over by a B-Double – and saying, ‘this pain is all the fault of the consumers; no consumers means no need to transport.’ I know, it doesn’t make sense, but it makes more sense than that damned piece of bs.
    Sorry.
    It’s not the same, but the same concept. I had 32 foster kids, mostly teenagers. The problem wasn’t with the kids, but they were the ones marked by their lot in life. The question should be: why is this situation here and now?
    Maybe the papers and reporters should look more closely at how these ‘problems’ are created – or would it be looking too closely at their motives for not doing that?
    Because it would all come down to money and how it needs to stay in the top tier, and how the only way up to that tier is to blow wind somewhere …
    It never stops, does it?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This attitude, in particular in a “reputable” newspaper, is unconscionable. It’s hard for me wrap my head around such an egregious approach to this subject, pitting acceptable funding for education against acceptable funding for the special supports many kids. They’re all kids, they all need and deserve a solid education and educational experience. It all needs funding. And respect. Period.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Just… wow! Sheesh…the money isn’t really going anywhere, it’s just being ticked in a different box. If a regular teacher gets fired a SEND teacher will get hired. I’m sure very few people will understand that. Students are students and education money is for ALL students.

    What a bunch of crap! Seriously?🤬 Are there NO responsible journalists anymore? We should all just tattoo corporate logos on our foreheads and get it over with… its what’s coming.🤦‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I had to read that headline 3 times to make sure it said what it said. I thought, “Surely nobody can be that f*cking STUPID!” But oh yeah, apparently they can. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Yes, SEND kids are students too, who are to be guaranteed an education with special accommodations made as needed. I sat on the School Board in Wise County, Virginia, as a special needs parent advocate for about 5 years way back in the day, to make sure those SEND kids were represented, so I know of what I speak! And you are right … this will only fuel the fire of resentment among the ignorant … those parents who have no idea what it’s like to try to raise a child with disabilities! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… anything associated with Rupert Murdoch is best left alone … he once owned Fox ‘News’, and still owns at least part of the Wall Street Journal … and … he is a good friend of Donald Trump … that should tell you something in itself. From what I’ve read on your blog, your son is being deprived of much of the special attention and accommodation that he desperately needs, and somebody’s going to bitch about spending too much for these kids??? Lemme at ’em … they will cower and hide when I let loose my acerbic snarky tongue! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sigh. Yes, it is much the same here. A friend who lives in South Carolina has a child with Asperger’s and she only found help once she took her daughter out of the public school system and paid to put her in a private school. Most cannot afford to do that, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And this is why these days I lean toward socialism. This “me, me, me” attitude that exists in much of the western world is unconscionable and needs to go. How can anybody enjoy a steak, no matter how tasty, knowing that people ‘cross town are starving?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are so very right. They live in their ivory towers and cannot even see us down here. Even average people like us are that way. I have a friend who, every time I try to discuss something like the environment, our foreign relations, etc, says, “Well, it’s not my problem … my life is good”. And then I want to choke her. Actually, she is rather an ex-friend, for I finally decided I didn’t need friends with that attitude.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Our daughter was SEN. I was disgusted to learn that this went unrecognised by the school for a couple of years. The reason? Because when a pupil is recognised as SEN, they get more intensive tuition, i.e. she cost them more money! It’s kinda scary when you first learn that that is how the system works. Most people don’t know, because it doesn’t affect them. If they did, they’d object. Another divide and rule tactic – keep people watching Britain’s Got Talent and they’ll ignore the big picture.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is so true. Seems to be two approaches. Ignore the issue so you don’t need to commit any additional resources to the kid. Or immediately label a SEND kid as low attainment so it’s pointless committing any additional resources to the kid. If you do have to spend money make it clear to everyone it’s the SEND kids fault that the school is falling to bits.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The more it goes on the more it goes on through the western world. I read all your posts and am thankful for the positives in the life of our dyslexic left handed eight year old. She has both parents living with her and her brother and sister, a Dad working full time, four grandparents living although the one closely related to me needs a massive attitude transplant. Still the other three are wonderful grandparents. She has a retired teacher great aunt who helps her after school one afternoon a week since she is not eligible for support at school. But last term the computer maths programme the children do for homework became very much harder. They are expected to do a certain amount every week and she can not do the work fast enough to achieve this even with me or other adults supporting her. She had gained so much confidence with all our support, but with the hype about it in the classroom and all the certificates given to the successful children her “failure” is looming hugely in her life, blocking out much of the satisfaction she has in other areas of her life. We will keep on boosting her and hope our support lifts her mood somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately that is current education. I was told by the History teacher (unfortunately now left) that he was probably the best in the year at the subject – but he struggled to get it out on paper, but that wasn’t important – can find alternative ways to output the knowledge. This year it’s changed even though he is dyslexic and has dyspraxia- the class has to handwrite at least a 5 page project. He’s set up to fail.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No where, and i mean NOWHERE!, in Adult life are we required to hand write a 5 page project and especially not in history.

        Just what are our education (so -called) systems doing to our kids today??

        An 8 year old doing computer maths homework???

        We’ve lost the plot.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. WE didn’t get to do anything that cool till our final two years of high school – we used to punch chads out of cardboard cards with a paperclip end and had to wait a week for our cards to be delivered to the computing centre, complied and read and any printout generated (if you had done EVERYTHING exactly correct) was delivered back to you the following week!

        It was still far preferable to hand writing 5 pages on a topic!!! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s quite sad that someone has chosen to completely ignore the fact that for decades, if not centuries, those students with difficulties in adapting to learning through the ‘establishment’ school system have been under-serviced to a massive degree, resulting in many of them ‘failing’ and having to live disadvantaged lives, even for many years after leaving the schooling system that failed them. (It used to be common for up to 15% of kids leaving school being functionally illiterate and innumerate – i.e. could not even write a shopping list or check the balance of a shopping docket!)

    That eventually today, after many parents and doctors finally saying enough is enough – we need to do BETTER for our kids – and the government having to make it look like they are responsible and can do the right thing, that same government has approved the recognition and classification of students as SEND students (who will clearly require more funding than regular students on a per capita basis to achieve the same results in an as yet unchanged system) has chosen to assign funding previously allocated to the ‘general’ education budget into a specific purpose budget, rather than increasing the overall budget so as to ensure that no student is disadvantaged is the real story/problem. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Underlying it all is the real problem – not enough government funding to do the job properly and fairly for all students.

        I’ve got a good idea… why don’t we cut taxes?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t have kids, or grandkids, so I have not been exposed to the school system since I was in one myself, many decades ago. I did hear something about this on the radio this morning. I think tha during my early decades, all children with special needs, were either segregated into ‘instititions’ or, without ‘diagnosis’ were corralled into the low stream of failing students. Either way, the result for those children is that they are virtually unemployable and will cost the system a lifetime of benefits or institutionalised living (in care home, assisted living, or prisons and mental institutions).

    Surely, providing proper schooling for a child needing some extra guidance, is going to give them a better way to contribute to society and take the financial burden off an inadequate system? Education is the most important start that anyone can get. It seems that here in Britain, we either want it to only serve the rich, or we want to severely impede its development for everyone.

    If education were properly funded, if it were given the highest priority, we would eventually, eliminate poverty and poor eating, improve health and take pressure off the NHS, reduce crime and take pressure off the Police, and create an adult population that can actually create political solutions to complex problems without racism, buffonery, meaningless rhetoric, and ineptitude.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Same. Sad to say I just don’t pay attention to any of it. Well, when Devos was first put into her position I did – she wanted to make a lot of changes and privatize our whole education system. Doing that meant that the school would not be responsible to provide and support to any child with special considerations. Thankfully that didn’t happen. Trumps gotta go, and take her with him. I’m waiting for more forward movement with the impeachment. I’m anxious as the Democratic party can’t produce a good candidate. If they can’t get Trump out now, I have major concerns for the next four years. Frustrating.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a lot isn’t it when you’re on a low income.
        Gone are the days of a pennuf of chips……. it’s £1.40 for a cone here, or £1.80 for a small portion. Fish starts at around £4, even a fishcake is £2.20.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This looks like a blatant attempt at buck-passing by The Times on behalf of Boris Johnson’s rabble.

    Central government has cut education budgets forcing local authorities to make difficult spending decisions. And now, with an election looming, the Tory supporting press are looking for someone else to blame for the impact of Government cuts.

    I think your old dad was right about The Times.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve not read the article but I recognise the insensitive, hurtful and deeply insulting attitude of journalists like this. Part of Priti Patel’s Taxpayers Alliance mentality that all public spending is a burden on tax payers and should be reduced. I just don’t get it. Selfish, privileged and frankly deeply unpleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

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