Chil­dren left wait­ing for new school plans

Coun­cil misses dead­line for pupils with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Twelve chil­dren with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs did not re­ceive new plans for sec­ondary school in time from Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil.

Out of 90 SEN pupils mov­ing from pri­mary to sec­ondary school this Septem­ber, a dozen were with­out a tran­si­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Health Care (EHC) plan be­fore the statu­tory dead­line of Fe­bru­ary 15.

A Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil spokesman said: “We are pleased with the progress we’ve made this year which is a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment on the pre­vi­ous 12 months and we aim to im­prove fur­ther in 2018.

“Eighty-seven per cent of Year 6 EHC plans were is­sued, con­firm­ing the school place­ment, by the Fe­bru­ary 15 dead­line. All re­main­ing plans were com­pleted by March


He added that is­su­ing EHC plans “con­tin­ues to be a chal­lenge for coun­cils,” but that “these re­sults show we are per­form­ing bet­ter than a num­ber of neigh­bour­ing au­thor­i­ties.”

Asked what hap­pens if the coun­cil misses the dead­line, the spokesman replied that the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion “will con­tact a coun­cil if they have con­cerns. We haven’t been con­tacted.”

Na­tion­ally, fig­ures ob­tained by spe­cial­ist ed­u­ca­tion lawyers Simp­son Mil­lar re­vealed 2,405 chil­dren in 103 lo­cal author­ity ar­eas had not re­ceived their plans by Fe­bru­ary 15. Cam­bridgeshire County Coun­cil had 152 chil­dren need­ing an EHC plan. Ac­cord­ing to Simp­son Mil­lar it missed the dead­line for 36 of them, but the county coun­cil said it was ac­tu­ally 28, with eight chil­dren not at a stage where their fi­nal EHC plan could be is­sued.

A spokes­woman said: “The de­lays were due to us not re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion about the child’s pre­ferred school in good time. Of those 28 that were late, 46 per cent of these had been is­sued with a pro­posed EHC plan nam­ing the school for Septem­ber 2017.” All plans are now fi­nalised. Sa­man­tha Hale, from Simp­son Mil­lar, said: “Par­ents of chil­dren with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs are un­der­stand­ably of­ten anx­ious about school changes, and their op­por­tu­nity to re­view and chal­lenge the pro­vi­sion set out in these plans is se­verely ham­pered if they are not pro­vided on time.”

She added: “If the plans are not is­sued on time, par­ents who wish to ap­peal the pro­vi­sion set out in it might not be able to have it heard by a tri­bunal.”

“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made this year.”

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