Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Bedfordshire Council reject school places concerns

Central Bedfordshire Council have rejected concerns that children with learning disabilities will be denied a secondary school place in the county this September.

The Independent today highlighted the local authority as one of the five worst performing local authorities for delivering education and health care plans to families of children with learning disabilities.

Reacting to the report, a Council spokesperson said: “The representation of figures in the news articles is misleading, giving the impression that significant numbers of children were denied school places in Central Bedfordshire. This is certainly not the case.”

“In reality, we had four pupils who required an Education, Health and Care plan (or statement) who are moving from primary to secondary school in Central Bedfordshire this year.” 

“Whilst there was a slight delay on the confirmation of the statements for some of these children, all four pupils had their statement and a school place confirmed by the end of February – in plenty of time for the start of the school year in September.”

Elsewhere, a spokesperson for Sunderland’s local authority admitted to delays, but said that all children within its remit now had a school place ahead of the start of the new school year in England. 

Meanwhile Cheshire East have shed light on the latest in their region.

Councillor George Hayes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “As the result of an administrative error, we can confirm that 23 children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) didn’t have a named secondary school on their education, health and care plan by the February deadline.”

 “This represents 21 per cent of the total, not 79 per cent which has been previously reported. I can also now confirm that all of these 23 children have the necessary and appropriate provision in place.”

 “Having the right amount and type of provision for our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is important to us. We recognise that we need to increase the number of specialist school places in the borough, as the current number doesn’t match our requirements.”

“Aligned to our commitment in this area, the council, working in partnership with the Department for Education, has recently launched a search to find a high quality organisation to run a new special free school in the borough.”

 “The building of this new school, for 40 pupils with complex needs aged between 4 and 16, is an integral element of our plans for improvement.”


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