SEND Reform England, a campaign group set up by the parents of children with special needs, will stage a demonstration in Millennium Square on October 5 from 11am to 2pm.
The group is staging peaceful protests outside town halls across the country over the autumn, following similar demonstrations in London earlier this year.
Local authorities are struggling to provide a suitable education for many neurodivergent children, following huge cuts to their budgets and a post-pandemic boom in the number of youngsters needing help.
In Leeds the city council has admitted it can’t draw up education, health and care plans (EHCP) quickly enough at the moment, while one senior opposition councillor claimed recently local parents are being “let down”.
An EHCP is a legal entitlement for any child with complex needs and specifies exactly what their schooling should look like and what extra support they need.
Protest organiser Sandeep Bains, who’s from SEND Reform’s Leeds branch, said the government was responsible for the crisis.
“So many children are being failed,” she said. “There are not enough suitable places.
“Every child should be entitled to an education. Not all of them are getting the one they deserve at the moment.
“The government just don’t want to put in the funding. They’re not bothered about our children and they’re not putting them first.
“All children are vulnerable and should be looked after, not just neurotypical children.”
The government published a new improvement plan for special needs provision in March, which it insisted would speed up the delivery of EHCPs for children who need them.
Speaking to The Guardian in June in response to criticism the plan doesn’t go far enough, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said: “We’re creating bespoke plans with almost half of all local authorities to improve their SEND services, building new special schools where they are needed, cutting bureaucracy in the education, health and care plan process, and improving mediation for when families disagree with a local authority decision.”