Easington MP Grahame Morris has requested the Department for Education to investigate Durham County Council’s Special Educational Needs provision.
In response to parliamentary questions, Mr. Morris obtained data showing a significant decrease in the number of Education Health Care plans issued within County Durham meeting the 20-week target, dropping from 76.2% in 2021 to 29.2% in 2022.
Nationally, over the same period, the figures decreased from 59.9% (2021) to 49.2% (2022).
Mr. Morris has urged the government to offer increased support to families and act against this hidden education crisis. He stated:
“I thank the concerned parents and teachers who have brought this matter to my attention. I understand their distress, witnessing vulnerable children with additional needs struggling in school due to inadequate support.
Delays in EHC plans can severely impact a child’s well-being and development. A 20-week target time, spanning over half a school year, is already concerning. Failing to meet this target in 70% of cases will have lasting repercussions on educational attainment in County Durham. This affects the whole school community. Teachers managing children whose needs remain unaddressed limits the time they can spend with the rest of the class.
Urgent action is required from both the Government and Durham County Council to address this crisis. If a school’s performance dropped by such a margin, it would swiftly be placed under special measures.
These statistics reveal the failure of the Government and Local Authority to support our most vulnerable children, leaving them without the additional assistance required for educational success. Given this failure, the Government, in collaboration with the Council, needs to offer support for schools while awaiting the outcome of an EHC plan, especially in cases where plans have not been issued within 20 weeks.”
County Durham & National Education Data
Question 5246: Special Educational Needs: County Durham
Question (Tabled 12 Dec 2023: Awaiting Answer)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 11 December 2023 to Question 5246 on Special Educational Needs: County Durham, if he will make it his policy to conduct an investigation into why the rate of Education, Health and Care plans excluding exceptions issued within 20 weeks in County Durham reduced from 76.2% in 2021 to 29.2% in 2022.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 11 December 2023 to Question 5246 on Special Educational Needs: County Durham, what interim support is available to families waiting for an Education, Health and Care plan to be issued.