A Suffolk parent and campaigner for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has welcomed suggestions for a new national body for SEND.

The agency is proposed by Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and would provide extra funding for the area and end a "postcode lottery" of provision.

The agency would provide support costs above a certain threshold and cut the amount schools pay towards a child's additional support, as the party claims this is a disincentive to identifying SEND.

Currently, each child with additional needs is entitled to receive up to £6,000 funding from their school every year.

The idea has been welcomed by a Suffolk campaigner following a damaging Ofsted report into Suffolk's services for children with SEND in January.

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Steven Wright, of Suffolk SEND Crisis, said: "It is a good idea. It is a big enough problem to need a specific body that advocates and manages accountability and funding.

East Anglian Daily Times: East Bergholt-based Steve Wright of Suffolk SEND Crisis.East Bergholt-based Steve Wright of Suffolk SEND Crisis. (Image: Steve Wright)

"In Suffolk, we see problems with inclusivity in mainstream schools. We have high exclusion rates for children with special educational needs.

"If the body could act as advocacy for children, and increase accountability for those schools and local authorities with regard to their duties towards children with SEND.

"One of the big problems we see as parents is there is so little accountability. It's all very well Ofsted inspecting every three or five years, but that timescale is just too slow."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want all children to have the chance to reach their potential, which is why we are increasing funding for young people with complex needs by over £10.5 billion this year - up 60% in the last five years.

“We are actively delivering against our SEND and AP improvement plan, reforming the system across the country with earlier intervention, consistent high standards and less bureaucracy.

“We are committed to training thousands of workers so children can get the help they need, including investing over £21million to train 400 more educational psychologists from this year and increasing the number of teaching assistants by 59,600 from 2011.”

Suffolk County Council has been contacted for comment but did not wish to respond.