April 13, 2024

Suffolk County Council ‘will find money’ to fix SEND problems

  • By Joao Santos
  • Local Democracy Reporting Service

Image caption,

Suffolk County Council’s SEND provision was criticised in an Ofsted report

The new councillor in charge of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Suffolk says he will find the money needed to overhaul the service.

Suffolk County Council was told its provision had widespread systemic failings in a report published in late January.

The damning report said SEND children needed “urgent help”.

“The money is there – if it isn’t enough, we’ll need to find more,” said Conservative councillor Andrew Reid.

Mr Reid took over as cabinet member for SEND and education last week and said tangible results would be visible before the next inspection, expected within 18 months, took place.

Image caption,

Andrew Reid taken over as Conservative cabinet member for SEND and education at Suffolk County Council

Children’s education, health and care plans (EHCP) were too lengthy and led to them performing poorly – or in some cases, without education altogether, Ofsted said.

More than 450 people have signed a petition calling for the resignation of council leader Matthew Hicks and chief executive officer Nicola Beach.

“I’m not daunted by this, nothing is insurmountable. It just needs a little bit of time and resolve,” he said.

Mr Reid said he understood the stakes associated with failing to rescue the service and recognised that if it did not improve, his resignation would not be enough.

He added: “I’m not interested in discussing failure at this stage because I don’t intend to fail… I firmly believe my ambitions for this time next year will be met.”

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