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(UK) Norfolk parents take council to court; no education plan for disabled son

Feb 1, 2019, Eastern Daily Press: ‘We have no faith in them’: Couple’s battle with council to get support for son, 10, could end in court https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/education/swanton-abbott-couple-ehcp-norfolk-county-council-1-5874916 A couple who have spent 18 months trying to secure appropriate educational support for their son are taking their case to court. Joanne and Antony Manners say they have been left with “no faith” in Norfolk County Council following their battle to get an education health and care plan (EHCP) for their son Elliott, 10, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia and dyslexia. In August 2017 the couple, from Swanton Abbott, applied for an EHCP for Elliott. They received a draft plan seven months later – outside the government’s 20-week target for EHCP completion…. “The local authority refused to do the assessments we were asking for and it was at that point that we decided to go to tribunal.” Mrs Manners says two tribunal dates have been cancelled and a third date suggested in January by the parties involved was not acknowledged by the tribunal service. A point of contention is speech and language therapy for Elliott. After paying for a private assessment the Manners are applying for a budget to cover the cost of private therapy sessions, rather than sessions with a local authority-appointed therapist. … In January Norfolk County Council announced it would spend £1.5m [$2M US dollars] to double the size of its specialist education team to speed up the EHCP process, as part of a wider £120m [$157M US] investment in special needs education. It came as the local government and social care ombudsman revealed it had upheld 11 cases against Norfolk County Council in relation to its provision for children with special educational needs….