A SEND parent attending the Suffolk County Council meeting called for senior leaders to step down in the wake of a critical Ofsted report.

Kathryn Croton, who lives near Eye in Suffolk, attended the Suffolk County Council meeting held at the Ipswich council offices at Endeavour House on Thursday (February 15).

Mrs Croton asked about provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The questions came following the damaging Ofsted report that condemned "widespread" failings in the Suffolk local partnership last month.

In the meeting on Thursday, Kathryn Croton said: "This is now the third failed Ofsted report in seven years.

"This is the overwhelming opinion of the majority of parents and carers in Suffolk that it is about time that Cllr Hicks and Nicola Beach resign and let somebody else do a better job."

East Anglian Daily Times: SEND parent Kathryn Croton asked senior leaders to resign.SEND parent Kathryn Croton asked senior leaders to resign. (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Council chairman Keith Robinson replied that he did not consider that to be a question, and the meeting continued.

Speaking after the questions, Mrs Croton said: "I'm impressed but not surprised. I didn't go for an answer, I went there to ask them to resign.

"I achieved what I went there for, but it was the result I expected. We are very resigned to the fact that nothing is going to change."

It comes as a petition was set up by a member of the SEND community calling for the resignations of Suffolk County Council chief executive officer Nicola Beach and council leader Matthew Hicks.

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. 

Mrs Croton also raised the question of when the council will start holding schools accountable for implementing the provision, as the council has an absolute duty to secure provision on an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCPs).

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

Andrew Reid, the newly-appointed cabinet member for SEND, said that the council "fully accepts" that it is their absolute duty to secure such provision, and that officers are already working directly with providers to ensure support is in place for children with additional needs.

Cllr Reid added: "This year, every school in Suffolk will have a termly visit from a specialist teacher to offer that support, signposting and challenge to ensure that schools are putting in the correct support and provision for children with SEND.

"These visits also provide a contact point for schools to raise any issues moving forward.

"An annual review could be called by the council to review the appropriateness of a placement when this is necessary.

"In addition, officers will also use headteacher and academy trust leader networks to emphasise with the senior leaders in Suffolk education the importance of fulfilling all aspects of children's EHCPs."

Cllr Reid also said that the council works closely with the Department for Education's regional director.