Parents of SEND children in Suffolk say they are 'still being failed'

Suffolk County Council offices, Endeavour House.

Suffolk County Council said it would respond to the concerns, in full, in due course - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A campaign group has called for urgent action to address the "disgraceful state" of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision in Suffolk. 

In a strongly-worded open letter to Suffolk County Council (SCC), the newly-formed Campaign for Change (SEND Suffolk) group said parents are "still being failed" and claimed there had been no visible change in provision since a scathing Ofsted inspection in 2016. 

The group, which is made up of around 120 parents and carers of children and adults with additional needs, said it wants to change the way families are treated by the education system in the county

It added that parents are being made to fight for their children's needs to be met. 

SCC said the authority takes such concerns "incredibly seriously" and would respond to the letter, in full, in due course. 

The letter read: "There is a deep embedded culture, between SCC and schools which has to change.

"Children and young people should be valued members of society, supported appropriately to meet their full potential, but the reality and lived experiences of our members paints a picture of failure after failure.

"We have been waiting patiently since the scathing Ofsted inspection in 2016, but we are over four years on and no visible change has happened."

The Campaign for Change group, which also has a number of case studies on its website, said Suffolk still does not have enough appropriate specialist provisions. 

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The letter added: "Numerous parents feel they have no choice other than to remove their child from education and are often encouraged to do so by schools and SCC.

"Children and young people without additional needs are educated as a matter of course, those with additional needs go extremely long periods of time, months, if not years, without appropriate support.

"If action is not taken quickly, things will escalate further, failing even more children and young people and their families."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We received this letter on Tuesday and are in the process of preparing a full response to the concerns raised by members of this group.

"We take such concerns incredibly seriously as SEND services in Suffolk are our highest priority for young people and their families.

"We are doing all we can to address the issues raised in this letter and will be responding in full, in due course.”