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(UK) Bedfordshire: 52 special needs kids have no school place; services at 'rock bottom'

Oct 8 2021, BBC News: Central Bedfordshire special needs provision hits 'rock bottom' https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-58842361

SE England

A council has said its special education needs and disabilities (SEND) provision had hit "rock bottom". Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found "weaknesses" in the service provided by Central Bedfordshire Council in November 2019. In September, 52 children with special needs did not get a school place. Conservative councillor Sue Clark said she was "determined" the service would improve and apologised for the "distress" to parents…. "We are at rock bottom, we have to keep going, we are doing the work we need to do and we will get there but it is going to take a little bit of time."… Ms Clark, the council's executive member for families, education and children, said: "We're being thoroughly investigated and that tells us what we need to know about our Send service and how we need to improve it." In September, protesters placed 52 pairs of shoes outside council offices to highlight the number of children denied places at special schools. The council has said some children might not be found places until Easter. Maddie Roberts, from Sandy, has an autistic eight-year-old son, with ADHD, who has not been in mainstream school since March. She spoke at the council meeting and said she has battled for four years to get her son the education he needs. "I've exhausted every service and every parenting course," she said. "We are told everything takes time - in that time are children are sitting at home suffering and our families are suffering….