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(UK) Shropshire: Parents appeal SPED decisions; billions for special ed

June 22, 2021, Whitchurch Herald: Shropshire families appealed council on 'a number' of decisions on disabled children's education Central England

SHROPSHIRE families applied to tribunals to overturn a number of council decisions on disabled children's education last year, figures reveal. Ministry of Justice data shows seven appeals were submitted to the Special Educational Needs and Disability tribunal in Shropshire in 2020. Children and young people who require extra support for their education are assessed by the local authority. If it is deemed their needs cannot be met in mainstream education, an Education Health and Care plan is issued, defining the support the child needs. This is reviewed every 12 months. Families who disagree with the local authority's decision not to assess or reassess a child, or not to change their Education Health and Care plan, can lodge an appeal to the SEND tribunal. In 2020, 2,094 decisions which had the potential of being appealed were made across Shropshire, with families appealing 0.3 per cent of them to the tribunal – higher than the 0.2 per cent rate the year before, but lower than the 0.9 per cent rate recorded in 2014. Some council decisions cannot be appealed through the tribunal and can only be dealt with via the authority's own complaints procedure. Disability charity Contact said the system for getting support in school was not working for many children and dedicated funding was needed to prevent an increase in SEND appeals in the future. Amanda Batten, Contact's chief executive, said it was likely the rate of appeals dropped last year as families were busy caring for their children at home…. The Department for Education said the extension of EHC plans from school-age children to under-25s, as well as a trial to allow tribunals to make other recommendations, explained the rise in the number of appeals. The government recently announced it was increasing the SEND funding for local authorities by £780 million [$1B] this financial year, and a further £730 million [$1B] in 2022-23….


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