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(UK) Bournemouth: Plans for 180 place autism school

May 18, 2024, Bournemouth Echo: 'Good progress' made on BCP's special needs services

SW of London

SEND services have seen a reduction in waiting times for children’s education and health care plan assessments (EHCPs) the report reveals, according to report author Sharon Muldoon. 

The interim education and skills service director at the authority also said there has been a greater engagement with carers, teachers and other key partners in the SAs a result, young people in BCP children’s services this academic year are no longer experiencing significant delays to the initial assessment and creation of their EHCPs, the council has said. 

The report says 96 per cent of requests for education and health assessments are considered within six weeks.  

Meanwhile 67 per cent of subsequent assessments are meeting the 20-week deadline, compared to 26 per cent and 0 per cent respectively in March 2023.    

The service’s backlog of annual reviews has decreased by nearly 50 per cent and is on course to be eliminated by the end of term.  

But the council is still far from out of the woods: despite the safety valve offer being rejected, BCP Council is still in talks with the government over bringing in the controversial scheme. . . .

This means a new free school for 180 autistic pupils aged between three and 19 will be built somewhere in Bournemouth in the next two years. 

Cabinet member for children’s services Richard Burton said it is “reassuring and pleasing” to see progress is being made, but stressed there is still a “long journey” ahead. 

Cathi Hadley, BCP Council’s director of children’s services, added: “There has been an absolute focus on improving the delays experienced by our children and these have both been improved and sustained at a significant pace since September of last year.  


“No child has experienced any significant delay in receiving a needs assessment service in this academic year and we have now addressed the significant backlog. We accept that this was not satisfactory, and controls are now in place to ensure that this does not happen again.”



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