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(UK) Buckinghamshire: 2 yr wait for SPED testing; "inspectors demand more action"

Oct 7, 2022, Bucks Herald (Buckinghamshire): Bucks Councillor calls for action on two-year wait for Special Needs Education results A councillor in Buckinghamshire is calling for more clarity regarding wait times for Education, Health and Care Plan testing in the county.

Near London

Councillor Robin Stuchbury says parents on special needs support Facebook pages in Bucks are exasperated at the length of time their children are having to wait for Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) testing.

The council says work to improve is in progress.

Bucks Council was issued with a statement of action following a recent Ofsted inspection, with inspectors demanding more action to address the quality of the SEND services at facilities in the county.

In the statement one inspector wrote that the council has a “lack of a cohesive area strategy to identify and meet the needs of those children and young people requiring speech and language, communication and occupational therapy.”

At a council meeting last week, Councillor Stuchbury asked for clarity on how SEND testing could improve in Bucks, when both the local authority and Oxfordshire NHS Health Foundation are “financially-challenged”….

Councillor Stuchbury has spent years campaigning for better SEN support for youngsters in Bucks….

The report released by Ofsted in April found that the average waiting time to see a pediatrician in the county is still 62 weeks – and stated that SEND issues in Bucks pre-dated the pandemic.

In one instance a child had to wait 811 days for an autism test.

Councillor Cranmer told The Bucks Herald: “Whether or not there has been a formal medical diagnosis, it is imperative that children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) have the support that is needed identified early and responded to rapidly….

“This academic year has also seen the launch of whole-school SEND auditing, which for the first time has enabled peer reviews of practice amongst primary and secondary schools, highlighting areas of good practice to share, and also where specific improvements need to be targeted. This peer review programme will continue, and be expanded, in the next academic year following its initial success.

“Finally, the new academic year has seen the publication of Buckinghamshire’s online SEN Support Toolkit. This comprehensive, accessible and up to date resource, aimed at school staff, will allow easy access to advice, guidance and resources that cover all the different areas of special educational needs, from autism to physical and sensory issues, language needs to mental health difficulties, with the primary aim of supporting schools to deliver best practice in SEN Support.”


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