Of­sted re­port says chil­dren with SEND were failed for years

Bristol Post - - LETTERS&OPINION -

OF all Bris­tol City Coun­cil’s many fail­ings, its per­for­mance on Special Ed­u­ca­tional Needs and Dis­abil­i­ties (SEND) pro­vi­sion must be at or near the top of the list.

It is shock­ing that 190 chil­dren with special needs do not have a place at a spe­cial­ist school be­cause the coun­cil has failed to pro­vide enough places.

Of these, 177 chil­dren must at­tend a main­stream school and 13 chil­dren have no place at all.

This is dev­as­tat­ing for the chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. The par­ents of SEND chil­dren of­ten feel iso­lated and much of their time and en­ergy is spent sup­port­ing their chil­dren, who of­ten have com­plex needs and dif­fi­cul­ties.

A re­port by Of­sted and the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion in De­cem­ber 2019 high­lighted that chil­dren with SEND in Bris­tol had been failed for years.

One of the most se­ri­ous scan­dals to emerge from the re­port is the un­ac­cept­able de­lay in com­pil­ing spe­cial­ist ed­u­ca­tion, health and care plans (ECHPs) for chil­dren.

Be­cause there is a lack of school places for SEND chil­dren, coun­cil of­fi­cials had de­layed con­firm­ing ECHP state­ments to limit the num­ber of chil­dren legally en­ti­tled to a place at a spe­cial­ist school.

In view of this re­port I would sug­gest that the cab­i­net mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills should con­sider her po­si­tion.

In 2018 the coun­cil was forced to re­store £5 mil­lion to its SEND bud­get af­ter los­ing a High Court case against par­ents who chal­lenged the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to cut fund­ing. And yet the coun­cil can find £40 mil­lion to sup­port a failed en­ergy com­pany.

This il­lus­trates the dis­torted pri­or­i­ties of the Labour con­trolled ad­min­is­tra­tion. Jonathan Hucker Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date, Stock­wood Ward

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