Children in East Sussex are being failed by the Conservative government and the Conservative county council.
It has been revealed that in East Sussex, children with significant and profound learning difficulties are being made to wait up to 3 years to be assessed so that they can get the help they need to achieve their potential in school. That affects not only their learning, but also their future ability to live fulfilling, independent lives.
This is a crisis.
This Conservative government talks about “levelling up” and yet it is leaving the most vulnerable children in our area behind. Evidence shows that without appropriate support, children with additional needs are less likely to do well in school, less likely to stay healthy and less likely to be able to support themselves as adults. But without an assessment they can’t access the help they need.
Parents locally say they are pulling their hair out with worry. They are worried about their children’s health, their future and their ability to get on in life. But the Conservative county council don't seem to prioritise our children’s mental health. They say it's an NHS problem - yet education and the well-being of children in East Sussex are a core part of the county council's responsibilities.
We know that NHS and school staff are trying their hardest to make the most of a broken system, but they are being let down by a Conservative government and county council who seem unwilling to take action to solve this crisis.
We call on the leader of East Sussex County Council to urgently meet with NHS bosses, school leaders and concerned parents, and take action to help the most vulnerable children in our community access the support they need to thrive.
District Councillor Sean Macleod, who is a local campaigner on this issue, said: “I have brought this issue to the last two East Sussex County Council (ESCC) full council meetings and was passed off by the lead member for special educational needs. They firmly laid the blame at door of the local NHS, even though not all assessments experiencing delays are carried out by the Sussex Partnership Trust, some are contracted by ESCC such as Kent NHS Trust. ESCC says their targets are being met, but a simple chat with parents and schools show this to be very much not the truth.
"Our children are being let down by a county council which is too quick to pass the buck and does not appear to want to address the issue our children are facing. This really is a crisis. It's about time they started treating it like one.”