Labour-run Bristol City Council has finally abandoned its plans to slash funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities following a High Court case brought by parents and a council motion by Liberal Democrat councillors.
In February, Labour pushed ahead with cutting funding for disabled children in the city, despite the service already being grossly underfunded. But the £5million cut was struck down by the courts following a challenge by local parents.
The courts stated the council’s decision was made ‘with no regard at all’ for the children it would affect.
After some moving speeches by Bristol parents at September’s council meeting, the Liberal Democrat motion to work to improve the service for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities was backed by the entire council. In addition, Labour finally abandoned their plan to cut funding and promised to work with other councillors to improve the service.
Lib Dem campaigner Graham Donald said: “As a parent of someone with a learning disability myself, I find it unbelievable that Labour councillors pushed ahead with this cut. My daughter benefited from going to a special school in Bristol; families now and in the future should have the same support that we had. Instead, we have witnessed our city’s most vulnerable children being failed by the council.”
An action plan for improvement has now been agreed including regular progress reports to councillors.