Parents, politicians and a SEND campaigner have shared their thoughts regarding the news that Suffolk will be getting a new SEND school.

On March 2, the Government announced the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan.

The plan includes the Government building 33 new special free schools across the country, with one of those being located in Suffolk.

The plan also states that there will be expanded training for staff.

Following this news, mums of children with SEND have shared their thoughts on the current provisions in place for Suffolk, and what a new school could do for the county.

East Anglian Daily Times: The government has announced its plans for SEND and AP in the UK. Credit: PA WireThe government has announced its plans for SEND and AP in the UK. Credit: PA Wire (Image: PA Wire)

Kelly Smith, mum of three with ADHD and autism, said: "This one school is not going to be enough.

"The council needs to make improvements to the provision across the board.

"The problem with Suffolk, is that they don't assess children, who have the eligibility to be assessed.

"When they do get assessed, they're not assessed correctly following the SEND code of practice.

"It's all very well building a new school and training up teachers, but they're not doing what should be done.

"These children are never going to reach their full potential if they are not being assessed properly and having all their needs identified and provision put in place, provision that is clear to understand and enforceable."

Abigail Mattin, a mum of twins who have SEND, said: "We find that everything we try and do with regards to the local authority just takes such a long time.

"It took a really long time for us to find out that neither of them got a place in school for September.

"There's a lot of things happening behind the scenes, but we are getting no indication as to what is actually happening.

"The thought of having a new school however does hopefully mean that we don't find ourselves in the situation that we currently find ourselves in."

Alex Tomczynski from Suffolk SEND Crisis, said: "The school is not going to be sufficient until the council manages to sort out its failing special needs system.

"The Government announcement on March 2 was about the reform of the SEND system, but it didn't really address the issue of accountability.

"It's all very well having this school built, but if Suffolk County Council, who have had rulings against them for failing to deliver education, don't comply with provisions and sort out their catastrophic failure, then it's just going to be a drop in the ocean."

At the end of January, Suffolk County Council spoke of the progress being made in relation to an ongoing review of services, delivering Education Health and Care Plans and managing demand.

Allan Cadzow, corporate director children and young people, said at the time the council had seen a 200% increase in EHCPs, growing from 3,000 to over 7,000. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich MP, Tom Hunt. Credit: House of CommonsIpswich MP, Tom Hunt. Credit: House of Commons (Image: House of Commons)

Ipswich MP, Tom Hunt, said: "I've been pleased to feed in a lot of my views when it comes to the SEND review and there are some good proposals that have come about.

"In Ipswich, we have seen two new special schools in the past few years, but they are already oversubscribed.

"Naturally, I welcome the news that there will be another special school.

"We do, however, need to see the way in which SEND is funded as Suffolk is not fairly funded."

Labour candidate for Ipswich, Jack Abbott, said: "There are deep and widespread issues impacting families which go far beyond school places.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jack Abbott, the labour candidate for Ipswich. Credit: Jack AbbottJack Abbott, the labour candidate for Ipswich. Credit: Jack Abbott (Image: Newsquest)

"Many of the reforms announced are unlikely to be rolled out until 2025-26.

"After all this time it's becoming clear: while there will be some incremental improvements, the SEND Review will hardly have the transformational impact that we hoped for, and that was promised.

"Sticking plasters, ahead of real change, as ever, and families will continue to suffer."

Suffolk County Council was approached for comment regarding SEND and the plan announced, but they declined to comment as they awaited details of the government's proposals.