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Liberal Democrats call for urgent action to resolve Norfolk’s SEND crisis

July 10, 2019 3:11 PM
Originally published by Liberal Democrat Group on Norfolk County Council

Liberal Democrats at County Hall are asking Norfolk County Council to write to the Secretary of State for Education to demand urgent action to fix Norfolk's special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) problem that should include the provision of adequate funding in Norfolk so that it can meet the demand for SEND provision.

Norfolk has over 15,000 SEND children and the County Council continues to have very low performance in meeting the statutory deadline of 20 weeks by which it must complete an education, health and care plan assessment of how a SEND child will have their needs met.

Tim Adams said, "This crisis is impacting significantly on the education of all children in classrooms across Norfolk, and families in every Town and village".

"We cannot ask more of our teachers, teaching assistants and schools".

"With £1m removed from the frontline services provided in children's centres, a £13.2m overspend in Childrens Services last year and an increasing number of complaints being upheld against the Council by the Local Government Ombudsman for poor performance, urgent action is needed".

"The current funding position for special educational needs is neither realistic, nor sustainable, and Norfolk County Council must seek to address the ballooning funding gap with the Government".

"We want to thank those people who took part in the Norwich SEND protest march as well as those who showed support but were not able to march. We heard loud and clearly from you and now it is time for the County Council to act."

Photo of Tim Adams

Tim Adams 01263 837119 or 07450 680364

timothy.adams.cllr@norfolk.gov.uk

The wording for the motion to the meeitng of the full council is -

SEND CRISIS

This Council notes that:

  • The number of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Norfolk is over 15,000
  • Norfolk has a higher percentage of Children in Need receiving SEN Support than the national average
  • Norfolk has seen a 230% increase in education, health and care plan (EHCP) assessments since 2015 compared with 55% in England
  • The Council has struggled to meet the requirement of completing new ECHP's within 20 weeks
  • The Local Government Association estimates that we are facing a national shortfall in SEND funding of £1.6billion
  • A number of local authorities such as Dorset have written to the Secretary of State seeking action

The Council welcomes the UK Parliament's Education Committee's SEND inquiry and looks forward to the publication of its final report.

The Council believes that:

  • All Children have a right to an education.
  • This is now a national crisis.
  • Local authorities are being placed in an impossible position. They have a legal duty to plan high quality education for every child with SEND, but cuts have taken away the resources they need to educate children with complex needs.

Therefore, this Council agrees to:

  • Thank those families who took part in the recent Norwich SEND protest march as well as those who showed support but were not able to march.
  • Invite the Secretary of State for Education to visit Norfolk to see the impact that the current funding model has on children, young people, parents and schools.
  • Write to the Secretary of State for Education to demand urgent action to fix the problem that should include the provision of adequate funding in Norfolk to meet its demand for SEND provision.

Proposed by: Councillor Ed Maxfield

Seconded by Councillor Tim Adams