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(UK) Kent: Record number of requests for special needs plans

May 28, 2021, Kent Online: Kent County Council director reveals sharp rise in number of requests for special needs care plans

SE England The number of requests for special needs care plans for school children has rocketed following their return to the classroom after lockdown. Statistics released by Kent County Council have revealed 445 requests for Education Heath and Care Plans (EHCP) were made this March. He said: “Since schools reopened to all pupils in March this year, the number of requests for Education Health and Care needs assessments has increased to a level not previously seen in the county. "Kent County Council staff are working closely with our partner agencies to deal with this increase in demand quickly and efficiently. “It should be noted that most children and young people with SEND do not need an EHC Plan in order to receive the support they require since all education providers have a legal obligation to provide this support…. In January, our Secret Homeschooler discoverd her child was dyslexic after struggling to get her to pay attention to her work. "Was this due to lockdown and not getting a proper education or was it a problem like dyslexia?"… While more requests for assessments are being made, a study by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) also revealed the pandemic has likely led to more children being undiagnosed with having SEND. … The research found that for primary school children who reached year six, the key obstacle for support was inconsistent among schools in how they identify children as having SEND. The head of a tutoring school that specialises in education for children with special educational needs says they have had an increase in demand. Christina Saccoh, former head teacher and owner of The Tutor Boss, said: "Demand has gone through the roof in recent months, as parents are feeling let down and disheartened. "Dyslexia, for instance, is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling, it’s life-long and can become challenging particularly if undiagnosed. "We’re finding some parents are now taking matters into their own hands and paying for private diagnosis and online classes, to ensure their children receive the tuition they deserve." Karen Gillard from Gravesend, is the Primary Specialist at the school. She said: "Most children with special educational needs go to mainstream schools, however, many schools are struggling to meet the demand for SEN support due to lack of funding from local authorities, time restraints, resources and specialist equipment and teaching staff…. "We continue to read emerging research, liaise with DfE, health and school colleagues and colleagues in other local authorities to assist us to identify any themes and concerns in this area. "Medway has not seen a drop in the number of requests for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) received which suggests that schools and parents are identifying children who have more complex SEND needs. …


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