17 of the 26 local authority areas checked by inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, have been asked to produce a written statement of action. This is the worst possible outcome for these inspections.
Inspections of education and support for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have showed significant weaknesses in quality of education, health care plans and poor exam outcomes for SEND children. There are also concerns about the high numbers of children with special needs being excluded or absent from school and a lack of confidence among parents in the system.
Out of the nine areas in the North East which have been inspected since 2016, eight have been ordered to produce written statements. The higher prevalence of failings found in the region point to the ongoing issues of lack of funding, stretched resources for the schools and councils and a lack of places in Alternative Provision. Meanwhile, there are growing numbers of children requiring EHCPs and schools are under huge pressures from the growing prevalence of mental health issues amongst students.
This underlines previous calls from Schools North East around funding for the region, targeted to the students who need it the most, and adequate provision for SEND students.
There are growing calls for Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to tackle the crisis. Gillian Doherty from the SEND Action group said “Councils have been given these extra responsibilities for children with SEND at a time when they have less resources than ever and the results have been catastrophic for families with SEND.”