Parents of the district’s “forgotten” children are to come together to fight for improved services.

Plans for the first of six new schools for special educational needs (SEN) children to be built by 2010 have been given the green light.

But Councillor Carol Beardmore, who sits on the Council’s Young People and Education Improvement Committee, said parents of special needs children set to attend the schools had not been given chance to have their say during the design process.

Coun Beardmore, who has an adult daughter with Down’s Syndrome, said parents were struggling to make their voices heard.

In response, a parents’ forum dedicated to supporting parents of SEN youngsters will be launched at City Hall, Bradford, on Monday, November 24, at 6.30pm.

Parents of SEN children in Bradford have had no official mouthpiece since the Parents Link, a group dedicated to supporting their needs, closed in March, 2006, due to a lack of funding. Coun Beardmore said: “Parents of SEN children in Bradford have been completely forgotten. Parents of SEN children in Bradford need support.

“Parents were not consulted on the special school reorganisation at all. I wrote a White Paper saying we have to do something about this and the Council has agreed.

“If parents have any issues or concerns about their child’s education or special school reorganisation they need to come along to the forum and raise them.”

Coun Beardmore said many parents had specific knowledge of their children’s needs which planners and schools should have been made aware of.

Mother-of-two Lesley Clayton, a governor at Greenfield Special School in Idle, will sit on the forum. Mrs Clayton’s 12-year-old son, a pupil at Haycliffe Special School, has autism.

She said: “Special educational needs seems to be at the bottom of everyone’s list all the time – parents have been forgotten about.

“My child was diagnosed with autism at three – you are then supposed to walk away and don’t get any support whatsoever. The forum will allow parents to support other parents.”

The forum is expected to meet on a regular basis.

To find out more about the forum, call Coun Beardmore on (01274) 621066.