Ministers face nationwide protests over the £536m black hole in SEND funding that is preventing many pupils from getting the support they need. Pete Henshaw reports

“Everybody thinks that special needs is currently a big mess even if the intention of the Children’s and Families Act was a very good one.”

As thousands of parents took to the streets in protest at SEND funding cuts, the words of Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committee, seem apt.

Mr Halfon was speaking on May 21 to education ministers Nadhim Zahawi and Nick Gibb as they gave evidence to his committee’s inquiry into the 2014 SEND reforms.

Opening what was the final session of the year-long inquiry, Mr Halfon told the ministers: “Almost to a man and woman, everyone who has appeared, everyone who has sent in evidence – no-one thinks the system is working.”

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