Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are not getting the support they need, with 47 of 94 local areas inspected by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found to have ‘serious weaknesses’.
An inquiry by the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned that mainstream schools are struggling to meet the needs of SEND pupils. A lack of sufficient SEND places in some areas means councils also have to cover the higher costs of placing children in independent special schools.
The Committee is calling on the Department for Education to complete its SEND review as a matter of urgency. The review, announced last September, has been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This report raises some important areas of learning for councils, and it is essential that Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission work proactively with them to identify solutions to meet the needs of all children and young people.
“By working with parents, families and children with SEND, we can agree on what a ‘good’ system of support looks like.
“Since the extension of the eligibility for SEND support in 2014, councils have seen a near 50 per cent rise in children and young people with education, health and care plans, with more than 130 children and young people starting support plans with their council every day.
“The Government must use its planned review of the SEND system to ensure it works effectively for everyone. This must be accompanied by sufficient long-term funding for councils, and the powers to hold partners to account for their work to support children and young people with SEND.”