Bristol City Council Illustrates Send Press Release With Smiles But Nobody’s Laughing

Bristol Send News:

Bristol City Council has chosen to illustrate their Send Goes To Cabinet news story with a gaggle of cheerful children, but nobody in the city is smiling after five years’ of poor provision.

Proposals are going to Cabinet this week, which the Council says will ‘significantly improve’ the current provision of special educational needs and disability (Send) services in the city.

Money is being asked to retrospectively finance staff to clear two years’ of annual review backlogs as well as improve the council’s turnaround time for delivering EHCPs. The number of EHCPs being issues on time so far this year has now dropped below 24 per cent. Families are waiting nearly a year for a plan and attached Send support which should be delivered within a legal 20 week time frame.

If approved, over £14m will also go to Kingsweston Special School, Knowle DGE, Claremont and Elmfield which would see improvements made to the school buildings as well as potentially increasing student capacity.

Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said: “These proposals are an important and significant step in our long-term plan to improve the services in Bristol for families and carers of children and young people with SEND.

“As a parent and teacher myself, I am acutely aware that we have not been providing the level of service that families need and deserve, but we are determined to make this right – these proposals lay the foundations for our new approach.

“As well as the increased resources and investment outlined in the proposals to Cabinet, we are also drafting a new SEND strategy, an Action Plan which shows how we will improve SEND service delivery and will soon be relaunching an improved Local Offer website for parents and carers.

It is a requirement for the Council to have a Local Offer website which sets out the provision, information and support services available to parent carers. But, this has not been updated since grant funding for the work stopped.

The press release has been issued with a chipper picture of children, but families in Bristol aren’t laughing five years’ of poor planning, Send cuts, attempted unlawful reductions to the high needs block and a lack of accountability for schools off rolling Send students.

Cabinet will consider the options on Tuesday 02 July 2019.

For more information about why Bristol families aren’t laughing at Send, visit the Send in the City section of our website:

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