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(UK) Somerset sees SPED numbers increasing 'astronomically'; demand 'skyrocketing'

Oct 30, 2019, Somerset Live: Why parents of SEN children face an uphill battle getting future help—There is a rocketing demand https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/local-news/parents-sen-children-face-uphill-3484471 A local authority is struggling to keep pace with demand as “skyrocketing” numbers of parents seek support for children with special educational needs. Cuts to preventative services at North Somerset Council mean more and more mums and dads are turning to the authority to get an education, health and care plan (EHCP). The admin alone is putting a strain on the council's coffers as it has to provide extra support for everyone up to the age of 25 when they get a plan - which are awarded in 90 per cent of cases if a parent appeals a rejection. Education inclusion service leader Wendy Packer told councillors last week: “The number of EHCPs is skyrocketing. “One of the reasons is the number of earlier preventative services has been reduced…. An EHCP is a legally binding document that outlines any special educational needs a child has, and the provision a local authority must put in place to help them. Councils are meant to respond to applications within six weeks. “Numbers have increased astronomically in the last four years,” Ms Packer added. “It’s difficult to keep pace. “It’s not particular to North Somerset. It’s national. “As the number of requests for assessments rises, there is a significant impact on staffing.