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(UK) Suffolk: MP is 'concerned' over waitlists for SPED support

May 17, 2022, BBC News: Delays in SEND pupil referrals is concerning, says Suffolk MP

A MP has said he was "concerned" over how quickly children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) get support.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said delays to education health and care plans (EHCPs) were getting worse, not better.

Suffolk County Council said EHCP assessments were taking 23 weeks, when they should take 20 weeks.

The authority and health services said they welcomed the feedback.

EHCPs outline specific measures SEND youngsters need in their learning, but the county council said a national shortage of educational specialists was causing delays to assessments.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported Conservative Dr Poulter said a number of headteachers had raised the problem in recent visits….

Dr Dan Poulter said that as a minister in the Department for Health he helped to introduce the EHCP.

The MP said: "Positive progress on the ground is still not filtering through and I remain particularly concerned at the lack of pace of change in EHCP referrals….

"The current response time in issuing EHCPs is 23 weeks which, unfortunately, falls short of the 20-week statutory timescale.

"A significant factor in this delay is the national and regional shortage of educational psychologists who help complete the plans.

"We continue to work together to address this."

Earlier this year, the council which has had to compensate SEND families for failings, and campaigners have called for a commissioner to take over the running of the service.


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