(UK) Peterborough: Parents have to appeal dozens of SPED assessment refusals

June 5, 2021, Peterborough Telegraph: Dozens of refused special needs assessments for Peterborough children overturned on appeal

SE England Dozens of decisions to refuse assessments for Peterborough children with special educational needs and disabilities have been overturned on appeal. From the start of 2019, at least 621 applications to Peterborough City Council for Education, Health and Care Plans have been made. EHCPs identify educational, health and social needs for children and young people with SEND and set out the additional support they require. Of those requests, 288 were refused an EHCP assessment (46 per cent), which led to at least 133 cases of mediation. And of those, 48 cases resulted in the refusal to carry out an assessment to be overturned. In addition, five further cases were overturned at a tribunal, although that number could be higher with Peterborough City Council unable to produce figures for 2019. That means of the 288 refusals for an assessment, at least 53 (18.4 per cent) have been overturned. The council said it does not hold data for how many of those assessments following an overturned decision led to EHCPs later being implemented. Peterborough autism campaigner Nazreen Bibi said: “Education, Health and Care Plans in theory should be focused on identifying and meeting the child’s needs in school. “However, evidence suggests that the number of parents appealing the EHCP decision has risen over the years and that 95 per cent of parents win these tribunals costing the local authorities up £11,000 [$16K U.S.] per case. “It is estimated that collectively local authorities have wasted an estimated £200 million [$283] of scarce resources on SENDIST appeals.” …