A YORK MP is inviting parents, community groups and service providers to a meeting to discuss access to support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, is hosting the discussion at Southlands Methodist Church Hall in Bishopthorpe Road on October 13 at 6.30pm.

It has been set up in response to an increase in approaches to the MP from those who are struggling to find help, either at school or accessing services, as well as conversations Ms Maskell said she has had with staff, the council and health services about the rising challenges.

Ms Maskell said: "I am seeing more and more people writing to me to share the difficulties they are facing in trying to get access to help and support for their children with SEND.

“I appreciate the significant challenges services are facing in trying to accommodate the rising need, and know that real reform must come from the Government to properly fund such provision.

“The underfunding of provision for children with SEND by the Government has led to rising numbers of children struggling with their education, parents struggling to navigate the systems in place, and the local authority and other services struggling to meet the demand here in York.”

In a September 20 article which featured in the Press, Ms Maskell highlighted that the Dedicated School’s Grant (DSG) funding allocation for York was ranked 135 out of 151 local authorities.

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This came from via the f40 network, representing 43 local authorities with the lowest funding for education.

DSG is the main source of government funding for the provision of education by local authorities and institutions in England.

People who go along to the meeting will have the opportunity to share their experiences, raise concerns and hear from others about why local challenges exist and what is needed to address them.

Ms Maskell said: "With the slashing of education budgets, schools and the local authority are noting increasing challenges in trying to address the growing need for support.

“This is compounded further by the significant under-resourcing of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), leading to huge delays for those waiting for assessment, and long waits for those trying to access the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that would enable them to access support.

“I know some have waited years to get a diagnosis.

"We need to see a change, and I want to take the experiences of those in York to the Government, to highlight what is not working and put forward solutions to these issues.

“I am clear that children in York must have the support and opportunities available to them that others enjoy.”

For more information and to book a place at the meeting, please email rachael.maskell.mp@parliament.uk or phone 019 0461 3723