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 for many years our former Labour Council simply didn't meet them. Families had to take the Council to tribunals just to get appropriate education for their children. Too often all this did was 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 6 years running Derby City Council left a legacy of chaos and mismanagement, failure to meet legal obligations and having to compensate families for the Council's failures. Things are improving but there is much rebuilding to do 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 still being denied the services they need. 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
  • Reverse the former 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 expensively 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