Children: Disability

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th September 2021.

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Photo of Barbara Keeley Barbara Keeley Labour, Worsley and Eccles South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Disabled Children’s Partnerships report, Left Behind, published on 16 July 2021, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding in that report that over half of local authorities have failed to meet their legal targets for providing Education, Health and Care plan assessments.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 make clear that local authorities must complete an education, health and care plan (EHCP) assessment within twenty weeks from when the request is received, unless certain prescribed exceptional circumstances that are spelt out in paragraph 9:42 of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice apply.

We use data to monitor local authority performance and to provide challenge and support to those local authorities where there are long-standing delays. Each year we also deliver a training programme to local authorities, health, and social care staff on their statutory duties for EHCPs and reviews, and we have continued to do this on a virtual basis.

In addition, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission re-started their revisit programme to areas that received a Written Statement of Action in May, with the full inspection programme re-starting in June. Our team of SEND Advisers and colleagues in NHS England are continuing to work with authorities with a Written Statement of Action to help improve performance.

More broadly, The Department for Education is currently undertaking a review of the SEND system, which is making good progress in identifying the reforms needed to improve support for children and young people with special educational needs and their families.

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