The Lost Children

Aurora CEO Stephen Bradshaw responds to the Council for Disabled Children story that ran yesterday on BBC News.


We seem to have lost the children who we regarded as challenging – The DfE changed the classification of 'challenging children' in recent legislation taking off Behaviour from BESD ( Behavioural, Social and Emotional Difficulties) so it became SEMH (Social, Emotional, Mental Health). This was to stop professionals defining ‘behaviourally challenging’ as a special need as far too many children in the department’s view were being assessed. Far too often we don’t look at the causes of challenging behaviour.

This becomes exacerbated when linked to complex mental health issues. We would all agree that these children should not be placed in institutions, but they are getting lost in the system or just being regarded as ‘disruptive’ and not provided with the education they require. Mainstream schools certainly can’t cope with them and they disrupt their examination results league tables.  Local Authorities have no clear strategy for these children and all too often focus on the crisis points by which time more damage has been done and their future is uncertain, if not bleak.

Part of the issue is that we have poor interdisciplinary services where education, health and social care aren’t working together efficiently and due to funding restrictions, Local Authorities will only deal with statutory cases. There is very little preventative work in place which is extremely short sighted and more costly in the long run.

We live in a one year budget cycle world where we are focussed on just ensuring we meet those budget targets and do not consider the long term costs or effects to the individual. The government spends millions on the NHS, social care and criminal justice but little is done to think through to the longer term to prevent our vulnerable young people from entering those systems in the first place.

Stephen Bradshaw - The Aurora Group CEO

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