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(UK) Suffolk: Up to 3 yr wait for SPED assessments/services

May 16, 2022, Ipswich Star: MP: Plans for children with special education needs still taking too long

More progress must be made with plans for children with special educational needs in Suffolk, one of the county’s MPs says.

Dr Dan Poulter said he feared delays to education health and care plans (EHCPs) – key documents which outline specific measures SEND youngsters need in their learning – were getting worse, not better.

Suffolk County Council said EHCP assessments, which should be done within 20 weeks of referral, are currently at an average of around 23 weeks.

But it said that the national shortage of speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and education psychologists is impacting on EHCPs and the 20-week target time because they need to feed into the assessments and preparation of plans….

The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP said in some cases youngsters were waiting 12 months or more for an initial assessment and up to two years for a plan to be put in place.

The county council said it was not aware of any EHCPs taking two years to issue.

He penned a letter to Suffolk County Council, Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, pressing for improvements….

Since a critical report by peers in Lincolnshire published last year, Suffolk County Council has embarked on an action plan to tackle problems within the SEND service.

It has begun investing £1.1million [$1.4M] in additional funds committed by the Conservative administration into more resources – including upping staff capacity, as well as improvements in data gathering and IT systems….

Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House headquarters- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown


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