22018Aug

Weekly Column 02.08.18

One key issue which has been dominating my postbag in the past months is the consultation on the planned changes to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision in Wiltshire.

I held a meeting with Councillor Laura Mayes, the Cabinet Member for Education on Wiltshire Council and the Portfolio Holder for SEND and safeguarding councillor Jane Davies highlighting the concerns residents have raised with me and sharing my own thoughts on the issue.

There has been a significant rise in the number of children requiring SEND provision as a result of better and earlier detection of educational needs plus our growing population and our SEND provision must increase to accommodate this.

SEND facilities in the north of Wiltshire are already at capacity and, with an additional 220 places predicted to be required in the coming year, financially sustainable action must be taken and I stressed that this must be done with the interests of the children and their families at the heart of any decision taken.

Wiltshire Council would ideally like to retain all three SEND schools but needs to consider the long-term requirements, ensuring provision is practical and workable.

The consultation into this issue is now closed but Wiltshire Council has confirmed to me that any views received after the date will of course still be considered and so please do get in touch via the Wiltshire Council website to make your concerns known or contact me directly and I would be only too happy to pass on any concerns or suggestions you have.

With my ‘meet your MP’ summer roadshow in full swing and very well attended it has been a delight to speak to so many of you across the constituency on a wide variety of issues and concerns.

Brexit has of course been an issue raised by many but so too have many local issues, such as the provision of SEND education, local road conditions and housing development.

I have also been able to offer support to individuals on a number of personal issues, which is the part of the job which I find most rewarding, being able to provide assistance when people often feel they have nowhere else to turn.

Even though my roadshow is coming to a close, I am still conducting a large number of surgeries across the summer and whether you have a national, local or personal issue I hope you will get in touch on 01249 704 465 or michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.uk as I would be only too happy to find time to speak with you.