Friday, June 14, 2024

Councils Miss Education Plan Deadlines For Children With Complex Needs

Thousands of children in England with complex needs are missing out on support as councils fail to meet care plan deadlines.

Councils have a legal time limit of 20 weeks, in most cases, to issue an education, health and care plan (EHCP), after a parent or school asks for one.

According to reports, eight councils have met the deadline in fewer than 5% of cases, from April to December last year.

Read Also: DfE Says 85,000 More Free Childcare Places Needed in England

Councils have blamed growing demand and insufficient funding as cause of the delays.

An EHCP sets out the extra help a child needs to access education, on top of what is available through special education needs support.

Examples of extra support might include one-to-one lesson time, or help to learn at home for those with such complex needs that school is unsuitable.

Staffordshire County Council, who apologized to the family for the delays, said a significant increase in requests for EHCP assessments has been made worse by a shortage of educational psychologists and has now recruited more.

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