Hertfordshire SEND improvement plan “vague”

23 Jan 2024
Young People

Plans to improve Hertfordshire’s failing special needs service are “vague and lack meaningful commitments”, according to Lib Dem opposition councillors. 


The county’s SEND provision, for children with special educational needs and disabilities, was found to have "widespread and "systemic failings" by Ofsted last November. 


Concerns have focused on the “poor quality” and delays of pupils’ education, health and care plans, known as EHCPs. 67% aren’t completed on time. 


The council and NHS Integrated Care Board have now published an improvement plan aimed at turning things round. 


But critics say it fails to demonstrate when or how the problems will be solved. 


Cllr Mark Watkin, Lib Dem spokesperson for SEND, commented: 


“We’re told the service will be redesigned and more funding given to EHCPs - which are so vital for SEND children. But there’s no indication of what this means in practice or when good outcomes will be achieved. 


“Their forecasts suggest that even by July this year, 40% of new ECHPs will still be delayed, with a similar number still ranked below ‘good quality’. 


“While it’s an improvement on what OFSTED identified, it falls far short of what Hertfordshire’s SEND families deserve. 


“Just as worryingly, the plan is completely silent on the long-term objectives for these key issues”. 


“We need more clarity and greater ambition - for our children’s sake”.


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