Leicester praised for special needs support

Published on 03 March 2016

LEICESTER is in the top 10 nationwide for supporting children with special educational needs, new figures have revealed.

According to research conducted by Schools Week, Leicester is ninth in a national list of local authorities for completing Education, Health and Care assessments.

The assessments have replaced what used to be called a statement of special educational needs (SEN) for children and young people.

Following a needs assessment, plans should be put in place within a 20-week timeframe, but this varies widely across the country.

Schools Week found that, from September 2014 to September 2015, Leicester received 290 requests for a needs assessment for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This resulted in 212 plans being issued during the same period – equating to 73.1 per cent.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “I’m really pleased that we are successfully issuing so many of these plans for young people with special educational needs. We know that getting a comprehensive plan in place early on makes a huge difference to what these children go on to achieve, and to their emotional and social wellbeing while they are in education.

“We’ll continue to work hard so that children with special needs – and their parents – know that they can expect a prompt and professional service from us.”

Parent Lisa Clarke, whose son is going through the EHCP process, said: “The support we’ve received from the council’s special needs team has been really helpful. It’s good to know that my son has had a proper assessment of his needs and that a plan has been put in place quickly so that he can get the best from his education.”

Dave Nutting, from the Leicester Parent and Carers’ Forum, added: “I think Leicester has done a great job of understanding the ethos of these reforms.

“Leicester's disabled children and young people and their parents and carers have been at the heart of the development and implementation of these reforms for the past five years. I think we can be proud of the way we capture information about, and then support, young people to fulfill their potential.”