A Suffolk mum who has been "let down" by the SEND system for years is petitioning for top council leaders to stand down.

Nicola Graham, from Bury St Edmunds, created the petition in the wake of a damaging Ofsted report that condemned "widespread" failings in the Suffolk local partnership last month.

The change.org petition, which has more than 400 signatures, calls for Suffolk County Council chief executive officer Nicola Beach and council leader Matthew Hicks to leave their posts.

Suffolk County Council said a number of changes have already been made at leadership level for SEND provision.

Since setting up the petition, Ms Graham says she has received a "heart-breaking" number of stories from people in "desperate" situations.

She recounts stories of children leaving school without qualifications and unable to enter the workforce, or being told that they do not qualify for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) when they do.

East Anglian Daily Times: Three-year-old Annie is still waiting for suitable education.Three-year-old Annie is still waiting for suitable education. (Image: Contributed)

However, Ms Graham, who is currently "fighting" for access to education for her three-year-old daughter Annie, says this does not go far enough.

Ms Graham said: "I am getting pleas for help. We need a change in the top leadership.

"They have been watching over the situation for six years now and there has been no improvement.

"They should have made significant improvements in that time, and parents should be feeling the difference. It's more than enough time to make the improvements that we need.

East Anglian Daily Times: Nicola Graham and her family.Nicola Graham and her family. (Image: Contributed)

"I am still fighting for access to suitable education for Annie, while the leadership at the top remains.

East Anglian Daily Times: Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks thanked the resigning councillors for their personal commitment and hard workSuffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks thanked the resigning councillors for their personal commitment and hard work

"As the chief executive officer, Nicola Beach is aware of our issues. Parents are contacting her, but they are still not seeing change.

"It is the same with Cllr Hicks. They have been in office for years, they have seen the poor Ofsted reports.

"It's time to go. We need someone new, someone full of enthusiasm, and someone who is prepared to work with SEND parents.

East Anglian Daily Times: Nicola Beach, chief executive of Suffolk County CouncilNicola Beach, chief executive of Suffolk County Council (Image: Simply C Photography)

"They have a responsibility to make sure the SEND system works."

The days following the Ofsted report saw the resignations of three senior councillors from the cabinet and deputy cabinet – Rachel Hood, James Reeder and Chris Chambers. 

Andrew Reid, the newly-appointed cabinet member for education and SEND at Suffolk County Council, said: "Changes at leadership level have been made. I am new to post, with deputy cabinet member, Debbie Richards, also newly appointed.

East Anglian Daily Times: Andrew Reid, of Suffolk County CouncilAndrew Reid, of Suffolk County Council (Image: Suffolk County Council)

"We are both committed to pushing forward with reform on a scale that is felt positively by all.

"From an officer perspective, two senior leaders responsible for children and young people’s services, including SEND have left the organisation and we have interim leadership in place.

"A new executive director of children and young people is in the process of being recruited. Reforming SEND will be paramount to that role.”