The recent damning report by OFSTED on Conservative run Hertfordshire’s Special Educational Needs (SEND) service was discussed today at the meeting of the County Council’s Education Libraries and Life Long Learning Cabinet Panel. OFSTED had said of the Hertfordshire Service “there are widespread and/or systemic failings leading to significant concerns about the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), which the local area partnership must address urgently.”
What the meeting confirmed is that the Council had recognised for many years that its SEND service was failing but that only in the last few months has it begun to make the necessary investment to recruit the additional staff, open more special school places and work more closely with the Health Service all so desperately needed to meet demand which has been growing exponentially.
County Councillor Mark Watkin, Liberal Democrat opposition spokesperson for Education commented “While the County Council has delayed doing what Hertfordshire families have been crying out for over years, children’s lives have been severely damaged, staff have had to work to breaking point and money has been wasted fighting tribunals that should never have been needed. I welcome the plans to recruit and train more staff, the investment in new schools and the much stronger governance, but the benefits will only start to have an impact months maybe years away and in the meanwhile children and their families will continue to suffer.”
“It should not have needed an Ofsted report to make this happen. The Conservatives who have been running Hertfordshire have failed our children.”