Press releases

ALLFIE press release on the Government’s review of residential special schools

Press release 24/1/2017

Residential special schools have no place in a society that values the lifelong equality of disabled people, says disability charity.

Immediate Press Release

The Government yesterday (23/1/17) launched an independent review of residential special school and college provision. ALLFIE (a leading disability education charity) is asking the review to consider whether such schools should exist at all, and calling on the Government to instead fully fund local inclusive education and support services for disabled children as a matter of urgency, and fulfil their obligation to promote disabled children’s rights to inclusive education and to family life under the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities and the European Convention on Human Rights.

13,059 pupils or 6% population of pupils with statements of special educational needs or Education Health and Care Plans are placed in residential special schools, the vast majority of them against their own and their parents’ wishes. Research over the past decade has consistently reported that disabled children and their parents do not actively choose a residential special school placement.

“We know of parents being forced into accepting a residential school placement because of the local authority’s systematic failure to provide good quality local support and inclusive education provision. We want the review to highlight the real and negative impact that residential special school provision has upon disabled children’s and adults’ life opportunities as a result of their being taken out of their local communities and placed in residential special school institutions often hundreds of miles away from home, and how it undermines family life and social cohesion. Austerity cannot be an excuse when the Government allows local authorities to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds per residential special school placement which could be used to fund an excellent local inclusive education placement. Continuing to fund residential special school provision is a breach of disabled children’s human rights to inclusive education and family life.

“Residential special schools typify the outdated view that disabled children should be hidden away from society, a mentality that is the foundation of prejudice, ignorance and discrimination, and we know that institutional settings leave disabled children vulnerable to abuse. These schools have no place in a society that values the lifelong equality of disabled people.” says Simone Aspis (Policy and Campaigns Coordinator)

Editor’s Note

Contact Simone Aspis 0207 737 6030 mobile number: 07464 797 453


Children’s Rights Alliance for England (2014) DFE’s FOIs statistics in 2014’s Review of Government action on United Nation’s recommendations for strengthening children’s rights in the UK (Numbers of pupils with SEN in residential special schools)

Department for Education (2014) Statistical First Release Special Educational needs in England

NFER (2012) Views of young people with SEN and their parents on residential education

NSPCC (2014) We have the right to be safe – Protecting disabled children from abuse.

Office of the Children’s Commission (2014) The Views and Experiences of children in residential special schools

UNCODP Article 24 disabled children’s rights to mainstream education

ECHR A(8) disabled children’s right to family life