Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision for the borough

At Reading Borough’s full council meeting on Tuesday 23rd February, James Denny (pictured, Labour candidate for Peppard and secretary for Neurodivergent Labour) questioned the lead councillor for education, Ash Pearce on Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision for the borough.

James Denny

Cllr Pearce replied that significant investment is being put into SEN capacity, bringing provision closer to family homes with new centres being opened and existing ones enhanced or upgraded. In particular, the Oak Tree Academy being delivered in partnership with Wokingham is expected to open for the next full school year providing places for 150 autistic spectrum children of all ages.

The clear vision is for children in the borough to have the most appropriate education for them, nearer to their family and their communities, with a clear push to continue this improvement.

Cllr Pearce also assured the meeting that there would never be a place for harmful “treatments” aimed at curing children on the autistic spectrum. These practices are highly controversial and belie the fact that autism is increasingly regarded as a positive trait with employers valuing it for the creativity and innovation it can bring to a team.

James said, “having seen Reading schools first hand as a parent and a school event producer, I am delighted that the borough’s diverse, bright and engaged children are seeing this great drive to give all of them the best chance to shine.”