May 2019 Briefing: March, Court Case and Day of Action

There are lots of opportunities coming up for you to get involved in our work as we prepare for the National SEND Crisis March on 30th May, a court case on 26th & 27th June (Disabled Children v Secretary of State for Education) and the National Day of Action against Disability Discrimination in Education on 4th December.

Dear friends,

The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) is gearing up to combat the government’s attacks on inclusive education. Whilst this government continues to be hostile towards the upholding of disabled people’s human rights to education as set out in UNCRPD Article 24, we are witnessing an upsurge of support from different organisations and campaigning groups who, like us, are campaigning against the funding crisis in the education system that is making it harder for schools to retain and develop their inclusive education practice. This briefing covers:

  1. National SEND Crisis March
  2. Disabled Children v Secretary of State for Education court case
  3. National Day of Action for Equality in Education

We very much want to use the National Day of Action for Disability Equality in Education on December 4th as a big opportunity to organise ALLFIE-led activities. We would welcome any ideas from you by end of June.

In Solidarity

Simone Aspis (Policy and Campaigns Coordinator)

 1. SEND National Crisis March

March Date: Thursday 30th May 2019

11.30 ALLFIE staff, members and supporters meet at the Boots Shop next to Westminster Station (map).

12.00 A petition is being handed into 10 Downing Street. 10 minute accessible walk/wheel from Downing St to Parliament Square

13.00 Rally

Further information and access details about local marches.

ALLFIE is supporting the SEND National Crisis March which has been organised by many parents struggling with securing SEND provision for their disabled children. Three main demands are:

  • Increase ring-fenced SEND funding to match children’s needs.
  • Assessing, monitoring and accountability for improved educational outcomes for each child with SEND.
  • One consistent SEND process that all local authorities must follow.

We have all experienced the shortfalls of the SEND legal framework when requests for an EHC assessment and plan, including appropriate SEND provision within mainstream education settings, are made by disabled young people and their families. Without a universal SEND process underpinned by the UNCRPD Article 24 principles, disabled people’s rights to inclusive education will continue to be a struggle.

What we want you to do

  • Attend the march and support the SEN National Crisis March
  • Bring banners, eg “inclusive education is a right not a struggle”
  • Have conversations about inclusive education

Banner Making Event

Date: Mon, May 27, 2019

Time: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Venue: Blackhorse Lane Studios, 114a Blackhorse Lane Walthamstow E17 6AA

A family banner making workshop will be held to prepare for the march. The SEN National Crisis will have some materials but bring some old cardboard and anything else you want to use.

This venue has ground floor level access with no steps and there is some space for parking inside the gates at the front of the building. Nearest station is Blackhorse Road.

More information from the organisers.

You are welcome to attend the banner making event or bring your own banners and placards that highlight the crisis in our mainstream education system.

2. Disabled Children v Secretary of State for Education

Court Hearing Dates: Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June 2019

Time: From 9.00 am

Court hearing times: 10:00am – 4:00pm (include 1 hour for lunch)

Location: Royal Court of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL

Nico and Lorraine Heugh, Benedict and Kirsty McFinnigan, and Dakota and Mary Riddell are three families seeking a declaration that the government’s SEND funding cuts are unlawful.

The judge is being asked whether the government’s special education needs funding policies are compatible with the promotion of disabled people’s rights to mainstream education under the Equality Act and Human Rights Act provisions. More information.

What we want you to do

We want a high turnout of supporters both in and outside the court for the three families who are taking on the government. The three sets of parents have chosen mainstream education and have faced struggles in securing appropriate SEND provision for their disabled children because of existing budget cuts.

This is an opportunity for you to join ALLFIE and speak out against the injustice that the government’s funding cuts are creating for disabled pupils in our education system. Feel free to bring your experiences, poems, songs and your voice alongside any placards while wearing an ALLFIE t-shirt if you have one.

3. Second National Day of Action for Disability Equality in Education

Date: Wednesday 4th December

Venue: More information to follow

The University and College Union (UCU) and other organisations including ALLFIE are joining forces to run the second National Day of Action for Disability Equality in Education after the success of last year’s parliamentary and local university events. Read the report.

A second parliamentary event is being held with the aim of raising politicians’ awareness of inclusive education.

The Day of Action is planned during disability history month, and therefore we expect a range of events to be held locally. If you are thinking of holding an event in a school, college or university, do let us know.

What we want you to do

If you are looking at holding an event, we can provide you with some suggested ideas on what you may like to do, perhaps in a school assembly, school lesson, a students’ union activity or extra-curricular activity.

ALLFIE would also like to hear from you on what activities you may like to do locally or nationally.