INCIDENTS of bullying of special needs children at schools in Swindon are being ignored, a parents forum has found. 

Jacqui Watt, chair of the Swindon SEND Families Voice, asked parents and carers what their experiences were of bullying in schools, revealing common complaints of bulling being ignored and children being taken out of school as a result.

She said: “Most of the responses we received were about children attending secondary schools.

“One parent told us she took her child out of school for several years, and another elected to home educate her child as the bullying issues were not resolved by the school.

"Several parents told us the school’s response to them was that ‘the school does not have any bullying’.

“There are many parents of children with SEND that do not feel listened to, supported and believed.

“It can feel like our children are ‘easy targets’. Being picked on because they are not seen as the norm. Being teased for sounding different, having different mannerisms, or having difficulties managing their emotions or behaviour.”

Although there were positive examples of schools taking a more pro-active approach.

And in some cases in was often other parents who could fail to understand a child’s behaviour.

She added: “One parent said their child with autistic spectrum disorder was wrongly accused of bullying another child and the school managed the situation fantastically.

“It was other parents that caused the distress on this occasion. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.

“Comments are often made out of lack of knowledge by both adults and children. Another parent told us that despite the school’s best efforts the bullying continued.”

One parent said their child who had been bullied did a talk in class to educate everyone on her special educational needs.

“This was a brilliant and brave response, and it helped the children in her class become more informed and understanding,” she said.

“It would be so much better for everyone if we could create a more supportive and understanding school community.”

Swindon SEND Families Voice is a forum for parents to give feedback to Swindon Borough Council and the CCG to improve local services.

Around 2,000 children and young people have an Education and Health Care Plan in Swindon for more support.