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Derbyshire County Council has failed to deliver proper plans for hundreds of children with special educational needs

Derbyshire County Council has failed to deliver plans for hundreds of children with special educational needs as they prepare to move into secondary school this September.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information by specialist education lawyers Simpson Millar show how more than 100 councils failed to meet the statutory deadline of  the 15th February for issuing final transtition EHCPs to thousands of SEN children.

A staggering 2405 children were left waiting for their plans, despite the fact that local authorities have a legal duty to deliver it by 15th February – in time for parents to help their children make the move, or appeal against the contents of it to a specialist Tribunal.

Nationally, 62 councils said they had failed to issue final transition EHCPs to 10 or more children, with 103 overall reporting that at least some plans had not been finalised by the deadline. By comparison, 47 councils were able to complete every single plan on time. 

There are currently over 35,000 children and young people between the ages of 0 and 25 years old with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an EHCP in the Midlands. 1877 of those are starting secondary school this September, and 1515 received their transition plan on time.

Derbyshire County Council missed the statutory deadline for 158 children. 


A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said:

“We’re committed to providing the best possible education for all pupils in Derbyshire and recognise the importance of Education, Health and Care Plans being in place for children with special educational needs.  

“We’ve liaised with parents of all pupils changing schools in advance of their EHC plans being finalised. Everybody was clear about the school their child would be attending and the support in place.

“A significant number of those pupils who didn’t have a plan in place by the February deadline will continue studying at the same special schools following the summer holidays. Although passing the threshold of primary to secondary school age, they’ll continue to receive their education at the same school with the same support in place.”
 

Education solicitor Samantha Hale from Simpson Millar said: “Parents of children with special educational needs are understandably often anxious about school changes, and their opportunity to review and challenge the provision set out in these plans is severely hampered if they are not provided on time.

“This is a statutory deadline, put in place to ensure a sensible and managed transition for children who otherwise might find the whole thing very stressful. If the plans are not issued on time, parents who wish to appeal the provision set out in it, might not be able to have it heard by the Tribunal.

“Even though some parents might have been told verbally which secondary school their child will be given a place at before 15 February, they have no right to appeal until they have the final plan. Their hands are tied and all they can do is wait. 

“Hundreds of parents will have received their child’s final transition plan late this year – potentially near or after the end of term. There is then little they can do in terms of preparing their child for the new school, including meeting and talking to staff, since everywhere is closed during summer. Practically and emotionally, this is a real worry.”

Of the 13,790 children whose final plans were due by 15 February, just over 11,650 were delivered on time, with some local authorities admitting to missing the deadline for over 70% of SEN children in their area. 

Councils

How many children/ young people between the ages of 0 and 25 years old in your local authority have a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an EHCP?

How many children with special educational needs in your local authority area required an Education Health Care Plan or statement of SEN for transitioning from primary to secondary school in September 2017?

How many of these children received their final transition Education Health Care Plan or statement by the 15 February 2017 deadline?

Shortfall

Derbyshire County Council

3465

233

75

158

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