(UK) Kirklees: "Families waiting more than 3 years to get help for children with special education"

June 23, 2022, Yorkshire Live: Frustration as children wait years for key education help as Ofsted rap Kirklees council and NHS
NW England Families are waiting more than three years to get help for children with special education needs and disabilities in Kirklees, an inspection has found. A report by education watchdog Ofsted and health regulator the Care Quality Commission says there are "significant areas of weakness" in reforms of special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) at Kirklees Council and Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group. A joint Ofsted/CQC inspection over five days in February this year found lengthy waiting times for key health services ranging from 90 weeks for autistic spectrum disorder to 194 weeks - more than three years - for a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The eight-page report that resulted said many parents "express dissatisfaction" with their experience of the SEND system in Kirklees and that "they feel they have to fight to get the help that they need." It said families of children and young people with SEND "are frustrated with the long waiting times for the services they need." The report noted that disruption caused by Covid-19 has increased these waiting times.

The report noted that despite recent improvements, children and young people with SEND in Kirklees in mainstream settings "have been more likely to be suspended from school than their peers nationally." It said other educational outcomes for children and young people with SEND, particularly those at SEND support, "are too often below those of which they are capable."

Addressing waiting times, inspector Malcolm Kirtley said they were "too long", adding: "Such delays mean that important needs of children and young people with SEND are not met over time. These delays cause distress for many children, young people and families."

The council along with Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group must now provide a Written Statement of Action on SEND services in the borough….