Councils 'failing special educational needs children'
Audit reveals more than half of the authorities trialling 'biggest reforms in 30 years' have no plans to carry them out
More than half the councils meant to road test the government's proposals to give parents of children with special educational needs personal budgets have failed to produce plans to implement them.
The 31 "pathfinder" councils, set up in 2011, were supposed to trial the "biggest reforms in 30 years to help disabled children and those with special educational needs" ensure their needs were prioritised. However, research by MHP Health Mandate found that of the 31, eight local authorities had not produced any strategies. The remaining 23 councils had plans — but nine of these did not mention "special educational needs".
The policy had been driven through by Downing Street alarmed by surveys showing more than a quarter of parents of children with autism say they have had to wait more than two years to get the support their child needs at school.
It is a crucial time as the new NHS bodies designed to co-ordinate with councils begin operating in April. An analysis of parliamentary figures, shows that £3.8m of taxpayers' money set aside for the scheme by the local authorities appears not to have been used.
Read more ... (The Guardian - 25 February)