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(UK) Devon: It 'will take time,' but SPED is improving

Feb 9, 2024, Devon County Council: Progress is being made on council’s SEND improvement plan

SW England

 Councillor Lois Samuel, Cabinet Member with special responsibility for overseeing support for young people with SEND, said:

“The scale of the challenge locally and nationally is significant, and the improvement journey that we’re on in Devon will take time, working in close partnership with the NHS, schools, and importantly with parents and carers.

“Our priority right now is to make sure that pupils who need additional support are identified at the earliest opportunity and receive the right support at the right time and in the right place. Where possible, we would like to make sure that children and young people are supported to attend their local schools and be part of their local community as much as possible.”

Councillor Samuel took on Cabinet responsibility for the services last summer, around the same time that we appointed a new Director for SEND Improvement, Kellie Knott.

Since then, important foundations have been laid, paving the way for improvement:

Educational Psychologists (EPs) are now working in 100 schools to identify children with special educational needs and disabilities and to help schools support pupils as early as possible.

EPs are also developing support pathways for children experiencing difficulty attending school.

Over the next few months the council will be introducing a new framework and guidance around a standard level of support which should be available from schools across Devon for pupils with SEND….

New funding has been secured to support pupils with neurodiverse conditions, such as autism, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) starting in 40 primary schools across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth over the next financial year.

Plans for new special schools are underway in Ivybridge and Cranbrook, and in Tavistock where there is a shortage of specialist provision.

The council has submitted bids to Government for more funding to help pay for new supported further education provision for young people with SEND.

A thorough review of statutory education health and care needs assessment and review processes has been completed in response to feedback from parents and carers.

Essex County Council is now working alongside Devon County Council as its Improvement Partner.

And currently being debated within the Council, a proposed budget for the new financial year could see a 10.4 per cent increase in funding for Children and Young People’s Futures.

“We understand and recognise that many parents and carers remain frustrated at the pace of improvement, but the changes required involve whole system changes along with the need for our responsibilities as a council to improve .The plans in place to secure these improvements are being closely monitored by our welcomed partnership with the Department for Education.,” says Councillor Samuel.

“We are committed to improving our services, and to ensuring that all young people with SEND receive the support they need, where and when they need it.”


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