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(UK) Bristol: 'Damning watchdog report' on SPED; special needs children failed

Dec 23, 2020, BBC News: Bristol special needs children 'continue to be failed' https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-55393813 (SW England) Children with special educational needs "continue to be failed" by Bristol City Council a year after a damning watchdog report, according to parents. The authority apologised after mothers shared their struggles to get the right support for their children. Mum Tammi Clark said there seemed to be "a systemic failure of communication". Education director Alison Hurley admitted while they were "moving in the right direction", it could be some time before families noticed a difference. The apology came as Bristol City Council reported on progress to address failings highlighted by the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission report in December last year, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. The report, which looked into support offered to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) children in Bristol, raised "significant concerns" about the effectiveness of council staff, school leaders and the area's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). In response, the council and the CCG's issued a joint "statement of action" in March, setting out what would be done to address the five key areas of concern. But mum Hayley Hemming told scrutiny councillors she had to fight for a needs assessment for her son and ended up paying £2,500 for it privately. … The meeting heard that a new funding system for EHCP support should be in place by next academic year. … Education director Alison Hurley added that a "family portal" was also being developed so parents, carers and children and young people can see "exactly where they are in the system and what needs to happen". She said the council was "moving in the right direction" and had achieved or partly achieved nearly 90% of the milestones against the statement of action for July and November, but admitted it would be some time before families noticed a difference.