Ombudsman welcomes Education Committee recommendations on Special Educational Needs

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has welcomed the Education Committee’s findings from its 18-month inquiry into reforms of the SEND system. These include a recommendation to extend the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to give SEND families a single place to complain about the SEND system.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“The Education Committee’s findings of families having to battle a system designed to support them, echoes what we’ve seen in the complaints we investigate. Sadly, we uphold almost nine out every ten investigations from children and families with special educational needs and disabilities. This is unprecedented in our work.”

“As it stands, our ability to investigate all parts of the SEND system stops at the school gate, so I welcome the Committee’s recommendation to extend our powers to look at issues within schools, including free schools and academies. It is something we have long called for, and we stand ready to work with the Government in taking it forward.

“Widening our powers would simplify the process for already stressed families to raise concerns, but also increase the accountability for all parties in the system and increase the reach of the learning from our investigations.

“With this in place, we could investigate holistically all areas of a complaint about a child with an EHC Plan, but just as critically, we could provide accountability for the support given to children and young people that don’t meet the threshold of an EHC Plan – and these make up the vast majority of children with SEND.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s report about its investigations into EHC Plans, entitled Not Going to Plan?, was published earlier this month.

Article date: 23 October 2019

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