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(UK) Special needs kids 'failed' by Devon Co Council; 5 years, no progress

Sept 19, 2023, BBC News: Parents say special needs children being failed https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/c148j17v971o.amp

SW England

Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities say their children "have been failed” by Devon County Council

Mother Holly Greenberry-Pullen said it had been a "horrendous process" trying to secure a secondary school placement for one of her children

Devon County Council said it had "listened to families" and expanded its improvement plans 19 September 2023Parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) say their children "have been failed” by Devon County Council (DCC).

Campaigners spoke at a meeting of DCC’s Children’s Scrutiny Panel, which also heard about a new plan for improvements to services.

In 2018 and in 2022, inspectors found Devon County Council (DCC) had failed to make sufficient progress in tackling four areas of significant weakness…..

She said: "When you have to fight a council to support your children's needs, you get to a point of absolute exhaustion, frustration, disbelief of the lack of communication and it drives you to the point of breakdowns.

"We believe they [DCC] are in breach of significant errors and legislation and statutory guidance."

The council said it would not only look at areas of weakness identified by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, but at the whole experience.

Cabinet member for SEND, Lois Samuel, said a new strategy and vision was needed to deliver the change.

She said: "I recognise that what children and their parents experience on a day-to-day basis does not match the level of service we would want to deliver.

"We have listened to parents and understand that tinkering around the edges is not going to deliver the improvements that are needed and that is why I fully support a complete system-wide transformation of how the service is managed and delivered."…

Dr Nigel Acheson, chief medical officer for NHS Devon, said it was "fully supportive" of the plans.

"Our focus will be on building services that help children and young people achieve their goals in life and ensuring they aren't held back by their health issues," he said.


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