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(UK) Nottinghamshire: 'Increase in terms of assessment requests/complex challenging needs'

Dec 19, 2022, Chad: Councillor in tears during talk about demand for special educational needs school places in Nottinghamshire

E. Midlands

A Nottinghamshire councillor was moved to tears during a meeting while sharing her son’s experience of accessing support for Special Educational Needs.

A manager also admitted figures showing increased demand were only the “tip of the iceberg”.

The comments were made during the latest Nottinghamshire Council children and families select committee meeting.

Nottinghamshire has 11 special schools and academies, but a much lower number of places than the England average.
However, figures show the number of Education, Health and Care plans required for access to special educational provisions has risen from 1,646 in 2015 to 3,360 in 2022 – and is predicted to rise to 4,496 by 2025.
Council reports say this is because there are now more children classed as having special educational needs and disability.

Coun Michelle Welsh, reading a statement on behalf of Coun Debbie Darby, after she was overcome with emotion as she spoke about her own experiences, said: “My son has special educational needs and I have repeatedly told the school he needs more help.

“After becoming frustrated with the response, I contacted the council and, while they were helpful, I faced a complicated 45-minute phone call and now, six months on, we are no nearer to resolving the issue.

“We are thinking of removing my son from his school and seeking an alternative as his education is being severely impacted by his school’s attitude.

“The long process is frustrating. The complexities of the system will lead to many parents giving up.”

Peter McConnochie, council service director for education, learning and inclusion, said: “It’s an emotive and personal subject and impacts many of us with children with additional needs. “It can be a complicated and complex system and it is important to make it as simple as possible.
“We are seeing an increase in terms of assessment requests and schools are seeing an increase of children with

The council’s response includes creating an extra 219 places in special schools until 2024 and planning to build a new special school with up to 160 places using Government funding. It is also planning for more places to be focused on the Mansfield, Ashfield and Gedling, where demand is highest.


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