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Ofsted condemns ‘disjointed’ special educational needs provision

The schools watchdog Ofsted has delivered a damning indictment of the education of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), warning that provision is “disjointed and inconsistent”, with thousands missing out on vital support to which they are entitled.

In her second annual report as chief inspector of England’s schools, Amanda Spielman drew attention to the plight of pupils with SEND, warning that diagnoses were taking too long, were often inaccurate and mental health needs were not supported sufficiently.

Her report, which presents a state of the nation commentary on the quality of education, revealed that in 2018 more than 2,000 of the most needy children who have official education, health and care (EHC) plans – legally binding documents setting out their needs – were still awaiting provision, almost three times more than in 2010. In 2017 the figure was more than 4,000.

The number of requests for EHC assessments that were either refused or delayed have also increased dramatically. In 2017 there were about 14,600 refusals by local authorities to carry out an assessment – a third more than two years earlier – to the frustration of desperate parents.

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