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(UK) Birmingham: "Special needs crisis"; teachers "not confident things would improve"

\]July 14, 2021, BirminghamLive: 'Very serious' - Government education chiefs respond to special needs crisis in Birmingham Central England

The Government's education chiefs have tonight spoken out about a dire report into the city's special needs services - saying they are taking the situation "very seriously". Health and education regulators at Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have ruled Birmingham's SEND services for children and young people continue to have 'significant weaknesses', three years after they ordered urgent action. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson could now decide to intervene if he feels the city is not capable of rapidly improving the services it offers to 35,000 youngsters. … This evening, in a statement, the Department of Education said: …"Where a council does not meet requirements to provide appropriate support for these children, we will not hesitate to take action that prioritises their needs, and brings about rapid improvement.” The statement went on to say the Department will "continue discussions with Birmingham on next steps". They added they expect Birmingham City Council, education, health and care partners to work closely together to improve services, and they will "continue to work closely with NHS England to support Birmingham to make the necessary improvements to services as quickly as possible." It comes at the end of a day in which the city council's handling of SEND services has come under fire from parents and politicians. Head teachers also told inspectors they were not confident things would improve. The council and its health partners at Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group were told it needed to improve urgently back in 2018, with a damning report then listing a catalogue of issues affecting the schooling and lives of the city's children with SEND. But in the period since it has failed to make sufficient progress in all but one of the 13 areas identified as "significantly weak"….


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