Fair Treatment for Special Educational Needs

Derby has a relatively high proportion of school-age children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). This brings its own challenges, and currently our Council isn't meeting those challenges. Plans for children's education and health needs haven't been completed at the rate they need to be to meet legal deadlines, leaving families in the lurch. And in some cases the Council has had to be taken to tribunals to make them provide the services the law says a child is entitled to. This simply isn't good enough.

Too often all this does is store up problems for later. If a child's needs are met promptly, they can achieve much more than if they're left to drift for years without the support they need.

Labour's mismanagement of Special Educational Needs in Derby has left them failing to meet legal obligations and even being ordered to pay compensation for their failures. This is completely unacceptable treatment of the most vulnerable children in our city, impacting on children in every school. Labour's neglect of these most vulnerable children needs to stop, and the correct procedures followed to ensure all children have the correct provision for their needs.

Liberal Democrats when running Derby City Council increased specialist provision for Special Educational Needs students, giving better services in Derby and saving the council money. Yet Labour failed to continue these plans, harming educational provision and increasing costs.

Special Educational Needs provision is now at capacity again and children are being denied the services to which they are entitled. This is unacceptable.

We will -

  • Work with families of SEN children to provide fair, effective support and early identification of needs
  • Seek to improve funding and support for SEN children, especially in mainstream settings
  • Ensure that identification and support for SEN and disabilities takes place as early as possible to minimise disruption to a child' education
  • Work to rectify Labour's backlog in producing Education and Health Care Plans as legally required for all SEN children and review existing EHCPs apparently created in a rush to ensure that they are adequate
  • Ensure the full allocation of SEN funding is used for SEN provision and not diverted into other areas
  • Improve access to speech and language therapy, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and other health care services to remove barriers to education
  • Seek to increase SEN specialist provision following the successful Independent schools model
  • Ensure all changes to local policy that impact on SEN children are reviewed to ensure they don't disadvantage them
  • Stop the Labour council's closure of specialist SEN places that are already oversubscribed and increase SEN provision to improve services and meet legal requirements, funded by helping children in Derby, rather than sending them out of area.
  • Ensure that all relevant Council officers are properly trained in SEN so they can best serve pupils
  • Seek to establish a new culture in local SEN provision and re-establish the trust of families by creating a new vision for SEN provision in Derby
  • Strengthen links between special and enhanced resource schools and mainstream schools to support staff training and development