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(UK) SPED plan requests up by 25%; wait time longer

Feb 7, 2024, Channel 4, London: SEND struggle: years out of school waiting for education support

It’s a challenge many families have first-hand experience of, or they know someone who has.

The arduous journey to get the right support for children with special educational needs.

Rishi Sunak told parliament today he wants every child to thrive. But over 1.5 million pupils in England have special educational needs, and with the number of applications for a child education plan rising by almost a quarter, the waiting time has also gone up.

In the first part of a series on this issue, Ayshah Tull meets one family that’s been waiting two years for the right support.

VIDEO: The government hands responsibility for this over to councils who have a legal duty to provide. They have 20 weeks to issue an educational plan, but that timeline is slipping.

Almost half of children are waiting beyond this time.

Having these statutory limits broken time and time again is so frustrating for the parents.

It’s illegal. That’s just not acceptable.

Councilor: It’s not acceptable, but because of the number we’re having to deal with and not having always the resources to be able to pay for that, that’s why it happens.

I understand the frustration completely, and I’m sorry for that frustration. It is not deliberate.

It’s bigger than just give me more money.  It’s a society issue that we need to sit down both as politicians, as residents, as parents as well, and have that conversation.

Channel 4 reporter: There’s a multitude of reasons why, from the impact of COVID to parents having better awareness. And this program will be picking apart this complex picture.


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