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(UK) Leicestershire: SPED failure; "more children have been diagnosed with special needs"

Jan 12, 2023, Harborough Mail: Special needs children in Leicestershire are being failed over education plans, say Ofsted

Central England

Services for Leicestershire children who have special educational needs must improve, according to Ofsted.

A report issued this week said failings highlighted during a previous inspection were still apparent – to the detriment of the children who are desperately reliant on formal educational support.

Following an inspection in 2020, Ofsted found “systematic weaknesses” in education, health and care plans, (EHCPs), drawn up by officials for Leicestershire children, inaccuracies within them and delays in issuing them….

They said: “[Parents] spoke of the distress such delays cause. They expressed their dissatisfaction and worries about the inaccuracies in their children’s EHC plans….

However, inspectors did acknowledge that more children in the county have been diagnosed with special needs over the past three years. This, they added, had to the strain the system was under.

Parents told Ofsted they were frustrated about the length of time they were having to wait for plans to be completed.

“As a result, they said, too many children and young people were waiting for their identified needs to be met while some were missing out on education, inspectors found.

Robert Martin, co-chair of the Leicestershire SEND Hub, a parent and carer forum which represents 6,000 families across the county, said Ofsted’s findings were incredibly worrying….

Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board, which oversees healthcare locally, said in a joint statement they were committed to making further improvements “as quickly as possible”.

Councillor Deborah Taylor, deputy leader and cabinet member for children and families at the county council and care board CEO Andy Williams said: “This report has highlighted the progress we have made and we are pleased to see the recognition of the improvements that have been made since the initial inspection in 2020. But we know more needs to be done….


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