I HAVE been sad to see the Government’s continued unwillingness to enable all children to reach their potential.

Thomas Keble School has said it has no choice but to reduce the number of places available to children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) because of the lack of funding - a decision which headteacher Julia Maunder has described as ‘heartbreaking’. I have no doubt she has found herself in an impossible position.

Schools now have to provide £6,000 towards the cost of support for an EHCP from their general budget. This affects their ability to provide for all their pupils, not just those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and so schools are penalised for inclusivity.

I raised this specific issue in parliament with my special debate on the crisis in Gloucestershire School Funding, as well as directly with Theresa May in Prime Minister’s Questions.

I have also discussed my concerns with Gloucestershire County Council, particularly about the rising numbers of children being withdrawn from schools by parents to be home educated.

I am concerned that parents of children with a wide range of needs are also facing tough decisions because of inadequate support.

The government’s inability to listen has been disheartening. However, last week the Department for Education issued a ‘call for evidence’ about SEND funding. It admitted that it was ‘aware of concerns about the funding for young people with SEND’.

Having spoken to all heads in the constituency who paint a similar picture, I will be making a submission. Education is an opportunity which should be available to all our children and good community schools should be supported, not finding that they face a battle to be inclusive.