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Half of Suffolk parents voice concerns over special educational needs provision in county

PUBLISHED: 15:46 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:46 20 March 2017

A survey has been carried out for parents or carers of children with special educational needs. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A survey has been carried out for parents or carers of children with special educational needs. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Highwaystarz-Photography

More than half of Suffolk parents whose children have special educational needs do not believe their child is given the opportunity to achieve their best, a new study has revealed.

Suffolk County Council has said helping children achieve their best is a priority. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoSuffolk County Council has said helping children achieve their best is a priority. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A survey carried out by the Suffolk Parent Carer Network asked parents of those with special educational needs aged between 16 and 25 to comment on services in the county.

Among the questions asked were whether parents and carers felt their child was achieving their potential, the availability of service information and whether health and education services worked together effectively.

Of more than 250 people who replied, 52.6% said they felt their child didn’t have the opportunity to achieve their best, while more than 60% said they had not heard of the local SEND offer.

More than 63% reported finding it difficult or very difficult to find information on available services, while more than 40% said they felt services were poor in helping their child take part in the community and prepare them for adulthood.

Portrait of pupils and teacher looking at page of interesting book in library. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoPortrait of pupils and teacher looking at page of interesting book in library. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A joint inspection by the Care Quality Commission and Ofsted earlier this year determined that Suffolk was not effectively meeting the need of pupils with special educational needs.

A spokesman on behalf of Suffolk County Council and the county’s clinical commissioning groups, said: “We fully accept the findings of the report and apologise that the local area’s services and provision have not effectively met the needs of children and young people in our county. Transforming these services is our priority.

“Whilst the report recognises the early steps taken to make improvements, it clearly highlights that there is still much more work we need to do and we agree with these findings.

“Since the inspection, together with the Suffolk Parent Carer Network, we have identified three key areas of focus to bring about the rapid improvements that are needed. We are working together to improve access to information, improve the SEND journey and develop the services and provision available locally.”

The spokesman said that waiting times were being reduced and designated SEN officers at the CCGs were helping improve the results, adding: “We all want children and young people in Suffolk to reach their full potential. Working together we have full confidence that we will be able to implement the same turnaround to ensure that children, young people and their families can access the support they need, when they need it.”

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