Timely support for Peterborough youngsters with special educational needs welcomed

Action to make sure young people with special needs receive the appropriate support in educational settings has been welcomed by a Peterborough charity.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 4:55 am

In May 2020, during lockdown, the Department for Education gave local authorities leeway with fulfilling Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for young people as long as they made “reasonable endeavours” to deliver the plans.

Councils were also allowed to miss the timescale of 20 weeks for carrying out an EHCP needs assessment.

Both easements ended last year, and according to new figures released by Peterborough City Council 100 per cent of plans were issued within the statutory timescale in January “despite the fact that staffing shortages continue due to illness and recent resignations”.

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Education news. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images) SUS-200416-095911001

It added that “the team has also met statutory requirements for transitions - most local authorities are struggling in this area,” and that it has been able to offer “comprehensive support and training to schools around annual reviews, as well as increasing the overall capacity of the team”.

There are currently 2,120 EHCPs being maintained in Peterborough which identify educational, health and social needs for children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) and set out the additional support they require.

These are reviewed every year, with February 15 a national statutory deadline for Year 2 leavers and Year 6 children.

According to the council, 136 of 140 ECHPs were reviewed by the deadline.

Commenting on the council report, Louise Ravenscroft, chief operating officer at Family Voice Peterborough, a charity which helps to improve the lives of children and young people with disabilities or additional needs, said: “Peterborough City Council has been working very closely with the parent representatives, taking on the concerns of parent carers they have raised and making changes.

“We are pleased to see the recent progress which has been made and, despite the pandemic, work is ongoing to make families receive the correct support.”