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(UK) Bedfordshire: 9,000 special needs students; demand has doubled

June 20, 2022, Biggleswadde Today: 'Culture change' needed in special educational needs and disabilities strategy in Central Bedfordshire
North of London A “culture change” is an essential ingredient of a local authority’s new special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) strategy for Central Bedfordshire, a meeting heard.

Ensuring children are closer to their families by not having to leave the district for their education is among Central Bedfordshire Council’s core ambitions.

The council’s strategy will lead to a clear three-year plan for the local SEND partnership, according to a report to its children’s services overview and scrutiny committee….

“To be able to achieve that and deliver the best outcomes possible we’ll need to develop a clear plan, which will come out of the final consultation,” she explained.

“We’re not just focusing on children with education and health care plans (EHCPs). We want to make this an offer across the spectrum for all children identified with additional needs.

“That’s more than 6,000 children in our mainstream schools on stage two of the SEND code of practice and around 3,000 with EHCPs.

“This needs a culture change for us as an organisation to ensure we can never get to the place we’ve been previously and move forward in the right direction.”

CBC’s director of children services Sarah-Jane Smedmor said: “We’ve seen that demand for EHCPs double in the last few years. So it’s inevitable we need to ensure we meet the needs of our children individually.

“We also make sure we have the right provision for children. And we place them closer to home. We don’t want them going out of Central Bedfordshire….


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