Campaigners fighting for better special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) service in Suffolk have cautiously welcomed a £4.4million investment – but want to see a "cultural change" in the provision.

Suffolk County Council said it will spend the cash on a recruitment drive to bring in 60 new members of staff to improve its beleaguered SEND service.

A damning Ofsted report published at the end of January revealed the county's children with SEND were still being failed in a system "that has not worked well for a long time".

East Anglian Daily Times: Suffolk's SEND service came under fire in late-JanuarySuffolk's SEND service came under fire in late-January (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Steven Wright, of Suffolk SEND Crisis, was happy to see the investment but warned it could take several years for improvements to be made.

He said: "Our general feeling is that extra resource for SEND is welcome as the council do not seem to be operating efficiently.

East Anglian Daily Times: Steven Wright, of Suffolk SEND CrisisSteven Wright, of Suffolk SEND Crisis (Image: Steven Wright)

"But more spending without cultural change runs a risk – the danger is the money won't be effectively spent.

"The culture in Suffolk has been to the great detriment of SEND children. There appears to be an inability to make early intervention to help children when they need it.

"More staff are welcome, but they need to be the right staff. More people administrating on Word documents won't help anyone.

"I don't think many people think this will be fixed within a year because the pace of change has been so slow, even with repeated action plans.

"We've just got to see cultural changes and properly-trained individuals who understand the problem at hand."

East Anglian Daily Times: Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for SENDAndrew Reid, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for SEND (Image: Suffolk County Council)

Speaking when the investment was announced, Andrew Reid, who was appointed cabinet member for education and SEND following a flurry of resignations, said: “We must continue to invest in this service to bring about wide scale improvement.

“This includes investing in staff resources, so we have the capacity to deliver change. We continue to focus on this priority – we owe it to Suffolk’s children and young people.”