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  • Alistair Strathern

“SEND system is failing armed forces families”, local MP slams Education Secretary





Alistair Strathern, Labour MP for Mid Bedfordshire, has slammed Education Secretary Gillian Keegan for the “recurring nightmare” arduous SEND processes cause local service families.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Strathern explained how the crisis in SEND provision impacts every family whose child requires additional support, but noted that for local armed forces families who must relocate frequently due to the nature of their job, their children are even further disadvantaged.

Families across Bedfordshire face long waits for Education Healthcare Plan assessments, which establish whether a child has additional needs and require support to succeed at school. Under the current system, if a child must move school before an assessment is completed, the assessment collapses and the process must start again from scratch at the new school - regardless of how long the child has been waiting.

In response to Strathern’s intervention, the Education Secretary committed to look at how the system was impacting children “who move around from place to place”.


Alistair Strathern MP said:

“It’s heartbreaking to hear the battles local families face trying to get an EHCP assessment completed for their child, but I know for our armed forces families it’s a recurring nightmare.

“Speaking to teachers at local schools serving families at Chicksands Base like Campton Lower, it’s clear the current SEND system is failing armed forces families.

“It cannot be right that families who sacrifice so much for our country are being continuously let down by the system.

“Service families already have the stress of managing the impact of repeated moves on their children’s education. They shouldn’t have to face repeated battles just to have their child’s educational needs assessed.

“I welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to look at this issue and will be following up to ensure it is urgently resolved.”


Notes to Editors:

Alistair Strathern MP spoke at Education orals on 29th April 2024, read the exchange here.

You can watch the exchange here.

The Royal British Legion estimates that around 20,000 service children require SEN support, see here.



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