• Stop threats of EWO Action to Parents of SEND Children for low school attendance related to needs
    It is very important that this step or similar is included in Section 444 of The Education Act to avoid what is currently taking place for some families. Of course parents who are not bothering to take their children to school for no good reason should be dealt with. However, when you have disabled children or in my case Autistic children the causation of lower attendance can be for very different reasons. For example, numerous legitimate hospital and clinic appointments can soon lead to lower attendance levels and children being flagged up for concerns. This is especially true during the statutory assessment process when there are lots of appointments with professionals and assessments undertaken. I have autistic children. Children with high levels of anxiety around social interactions with associated sensory processing dysregulation who need a higher level of support. Getting that support in place can be a protracted process where budgets available to support are already stretched. Sometimes support fails and needs updating or amending. Again unfortunately this tends not to happen quickly. In the interim, while children are waiting for help to be put in place it can lead to very real school based anxiety reflected very often in school refusal or lateness. This is a very different kettle of fish. I believe that there should be a separate process for these situations and that is a simple fix by way of an amendment or exclusion. Too often EWO action is used as the first response and this can really frighten parents who are already parenting under pressure. This response to difficulties doesn't help the child and it certainly doesn't solve the situation. I feel it is not what Section 444 was designed for. I live in Exeter, Devon. I am currently party to such a situation. I have an autistic child in the middle of a statutory assessment. I am nearly at week 20 of the process. Many needs have been identified including new diagnosis and the local authority in charge have confirmed that they will issue an EHCP in response to those needs. Those needs include Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Sensory Processing Dysregulation, Dysarthria. This is a child with many barriers to the mainstream school environment. In the interim whilst needs are identified, there is still no Education, Health, Care Plan (EHCP) in place and subsequently no extra funding available to deliver extra help in school. SEND Support has not been stepped up in response. SEND Support comes out of a budget which is not ring fenced and so many schools in the current climate simply do not have money available. Children have very often already broken down or are suffering by the time all of the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. My son is presently in limbo without the support that he needs being put in place. As a result, his anxiety has increased around going to school, in the absence of any consistent support to the recommendations around this, we have had to bring him into school slightly later to avoid the sensory overload (noise, visual stimulation) that the very busy mainstream morning school environment causes him. This has got much worse, the longer his now very much identified needs have gone unidentified and unmet. He will be 6 years old in the summer. The first response of the school and the local authority has not been to support us and work together to put support in place with the professionals around the child, but rather to fire out an EWO letter to us with no prior meeting to discuss or resolve. Fire this letter knowing full well that this child has special educational needs and that he is in the middle of this statutory process. We have done our level best as parents, contacting the team around the child as the difficulties began to present themselves and we have asked for their help. We wait hopefully for a response. Also sometimes attendance issues can be the first red flag for children who have special educational needs or disabilities. This should be factored in to my mind when the school or local authority are noticing attendance issues. Is this being caused by SEND? Section 22 and 23 of the Children and Families Act highlights statutory duty around these children. Section 22: The duty of Identifying children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and Section 23: The duty of health bodies to bring certain children to local authority's attention. SEND as a causation should surely be the FIRST possibility ruled out? Lots of parents to disabled children become so afraid with this gun being held to their heads that they deregister and home educate their children rather than face a legal battle. Section 444 shouldn't cause exclusion of disabled/SEND children from school, backing helpless parents into a corner? That cannot be allowed to be the knock on effect of this law! It needs to be amended or SEND children need to be excluded. EWO letters/action clearly are not a helpful response to unmet special educational needs for disabled children. For lots of parents this can cause more very real worry, distress and anxiety on top of what is already a difficult situation. Section 444 allows in extreme cases for action towards parents that falls under criminal law. This is not an appropriate road to travel in these circumstances. As a seasoned and experienced parent to SEND children, I can confirm that It's a common nationwide practice that I see occur more often than it should do. I don't believe that the intention of this law was that it be used in this way towards disabled/SEND children and their parents/carers and that there should be clear steps involved in the process to prevent this from happening or that disabled children should be exempt from Section 444 and different legislation be applied altogether.
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    Created by S McGrath
  • Disabled Parking
    Important to all disabled drivers who are unable to access accessible parking space, adding more stress and physical pain to conditions which necessitate having easy access to a vehicle.
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    Created by Philomena Winn
  • Scrap Disabled Parking Charges in Newcastle
    Disabled Blue Badge holders rely on their cars to visit the doctor, go shopping or take part in leisure activities. They can't use public transport. Charging Disabled Blue Badge holders to park is punishing them for being disabled. It sends out a message that disabled people aren't welcome in Newcastle. Blue Badge holders may choose to go elsewhere, impacting on the city's economy or park on double yellow lines causing congestion. How is this Creating Decent Neighbourhoods? How is this tackling inequalities? How is this showing that Newcastle is open for business? Charging disabled residents and visitors to the city to park is detrimental to both the disabled person and Newcastle.
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    Created by Lizzie Mc
  • Dropped kerbs
    It's a death trap as it is!
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    Created by Elaine Lashley
  • Provision of Specialist Autism Support for Sandwell Families
    We have already written to you to raise this subject but this is a brief summary of why this issue is important. Autism is no worse or more complex than any other condition. It’s just different. Families need advice that is specific to autism as many of the usual ways of communicating, teaching and managing behaviour is different to the norm. Every autistic person is different so you need a specialist who can tailor advice to your individual needs. Autism is the only disability to have its own act of parliament to focus upon and direct the services that should be available to autistic people. Having the wrong advice can make the situation worse. To support their children parents need to understand their child and how they can help them. When carers are better supported the cared for has better outcomes.
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    Created by Rebecca Harris
  • Carers allowance to be increased to minimum wage
    I’m the main carer of my 2 daughters It seems you are able to claim this allowance if you care for another person for 35 hours or more per week If this person was in state care the care worker or personal assistant would be paid £8.21 or more for doing the same job... This needs changing . It beggars belief that people are paid £1.84 per hour because you are a parent , family member or friend My youngest daughter has cerebral palsy and complex medical needs which are also life threatening My oldest daughter has autism high functioning . I have dedicated my life to look after my family as that’s my duty as as a parent. But can honestly say what a challenge it’s been over the years as their both 24 & 25 years old now . There’s been plenty of sleepless nights and endless days of worries wondering if you’re child or loved one will pull through whatever life has thrown at them On two occasions my daughter has fought for her life and all we could do was pray she’d pull through. Luckily she did and I’m telling you what it’s like to be a Carer Carers story. Our day starts between 3-4am each morning when toilet duty starts with my youngest as she’s got digestive problems too along with severe epilepsy so she can’t be left alone. We’ll get her back to bed around 5 am if we’re lucky we’ll go asleep until say 6 or 7am . When Jodie wakes up again I have to give breakfast and meditation after that it’s shower time . After all personal cares have been done we’re normally back on toilet duty which we must do at least 30 times per day as jo also has short term memory loss . In between personal cares etc there’s housework, shopping and entertaining the person you are looking after. There’s endless hospital appointments to attend especially if the person has complex medical needs . This can have a huge impact on the Carers mental health and general wellbeing. The feeling of isolation a Carer or family member may feel from time to time can be quite overwhelming . If you are a Carer and also the parent you are classed as their legal guardian which means you’re responsible for every aspect of the persons life !!! What a responsibility. My health suffered badly as I ended up with a over active thyroid, TED and had a stroke , copd Before this I was working part time in the NHS in learning dis & mental health as a Support Worker . Again whilst working there I witnessed firsthand how much is expected from parents and most are at breaking point as they have been a Carer for so many years. I loved my job but I found I didn’t have enough of me to go around and my family had to come first so I resigned .. I know a lot of families who have children or young adults and elderly relatives that dedicate their lives to their family and with no support financially or emotionally. I’ve also known lovely families who have had so much to deal with their relationship with their partner has broken down . It’s an insult to think it’s acceptable to pay a shocking £1.84 per hour to a Carer .. you have to look after the person for 35 hours or more per week to receive £64.60 I do what I do for my daughters through love I don’t see it as a job but the government clearly does as your not allowed to earn over £120 per week if you do you don’t qualify but your still Caring . I don’t claim any benefits as my husband works full time but I do receive Carers allowance. I also set up a social club for young adults over 16 with disabilities and complex medical needs I do this voluntary. Again lack of services for the most vulnerable in our community. Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long message. Please get your friends and family to sign and share and get our Carers what they deserve and that’s fare-pay
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    Created by Debbie O'brien
  • Disabled Parking at Hospitals in England
    England is the only part of the UK where hospitals routinely charge patients and visitors for parking at all. Guidance by the Department of Health & Social Care is that concessions should be available for disabled people.* Free parking should be allowed for disabled people because they: > Are commonly forced to visit hospital more frequently, precisely because of their disabilities > Generally have much lower incomes, often less than half the national average > Are much more likely to live in poverty** > Often have to meet extra costs directly caused by their disabilities * https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles#fn:2 ** https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-facts-and-figures/disability-facts-and-figures#living-standards
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    Created by Roger C
  • True recording of homeless deaths
    2,627 people have died homeless in the last five years - but the true figure is much higher.
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    Created by Liam Byrne
  • Reinstate free disabled parking at Guildford railway station
    The regular trips with my daughter to Great Ormond Street Hospital just got even more expensive. Free disabled parking has been scrapped. There are no hourly rates and no concessions. It costs £15 to park. Disabled people have a daily struggle to get to places. APCOA now manage car parking for National Rail at Guildford Station and the car parking at these venues for disabled blue badge holders is no longer free. This is causing disabled people not only financial issues but is massively impacting on their day to day stress levels. I've just started this petition and would be really grateful if you could take the time to sign it. Thanks so much.
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    Created by Bethany Halliday
  • Permission to have a guide dog pen in communal area of flats
    I am registered severely sighted and have a Guide Dog whom will soon be a match but have no garden or outside space.
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    Created by Gordon Divall
  • Save Vale Royal Disability Services in Cheshire
    Vale Royal Disability Services (VRDS) in Cheshire is under threat of closure. The Board of Trustees, who operate the organisation, are currently deciding what the future holds for this essential service. VRDS is an essential lifeline for disabled and elderly people in Cheshire and aids them to get on in life. It allows them to access vital free information on benefits, education and employment. VDRS also provide mobility services, helping people access things like scooters wheelchairs and walking frames. If hundreds of us living in Cheshire sign the petition, it would show the Trustees that this vital service needs to keep running.
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    Created by Julie Jones
  • Stop cuts to Citizens Advice in Suffolk
    The future of Citizens Advice in Suffolk is under threat because Suffolk County Council is proposing to halve and then completely withdraw its funding to the charities. The Citizens Advice network helped 22,000 people in Suffolk with more than 75,000 issues last year. The volunteer advisers provide quality assured advice on a wide range of issues such as debt, disability benefits, housing, employment and relationships. Cuts would lead to a significantly reduced service for people in Suffolk. The number of staff and volunteers available to give advice would have to be drastically reduced. If you have a story to tell about how we have helped you or your family then please share it in the reason for signing.
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    Created by Citizens Advice in Suffolk Picture