Bristol Local Offer Post Provokes Facebook Send Row

A post on Bristol City Council’s Local Offer page caused upset in the city’s Send community

A row has erupted on a Bristol City Council Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (Send) Facebook page after parents and carers were asked to volunteer for a new council initiative.

The Council’s Local Offer page published a post asking for parents and carers of children with SEND to take part in short videos about their ‘lived experience’.

It also said: ‘We’d like to know what you found helpful when your child was first identified with SEND and what support you and your family continues to find helpful.’

But the post has been met with upset by Bristol parents and carers who still feel unsupported, with most responding about ongoing legal action they are taking against the Local Authority.

You mean the support that has meant 2 years to get an EHCP that should have taken 20 weeks and that’s only via a tribunal and a judicial review pre-action protocol letter to get BCC to actually comply with the tribunal order.” Bristol Send Parent

One parent said: ‘Is this a joke? Why don’t the parents talk about the tribunals and solicitors fees they have to pay to get an echp?’

Another said: ‘Sorry, I don’t have time and have nothing positive to say. I’m busy trying to prepare for tribunal to get proper provisions for my child. This whole process is mentally, emotionally and (soon to be) financially draining. It’s sucking the life out of me and taking away precious time that should be spent with my child rather than going over paperwork and chasing things up. I’ve had no support whatsoever since my child was registered SEND.’

A third said: ‘What I found useful was when my daughter was going through a diagnosis was the inclusion officer telling me there was nothing wrong with my child and if they did provide resources for her they would have to take those resources away from a child that actually needed it!’

Are you a parent or carer of a child with #SEND?  Would you like to help other families? We want to make some short videos about your lived experience. What helped when your child was first identified with SEND? And what still helps?  We hope this will provide reassurance for other families and an alternative to all the written information. This would involve 1 hour of your time, wherever you feel comfortable. Contact us to find out more bristollocaloffer@bristol.gov.uk

One parent carer blasted the system saying: ‘Horrifying, immoral, illegal, manipulative, discriminatory maybe but certainly not ‘reassuring’!’

Continuing with the theme of legal action, another said: ‘You mean the support that has meant 2 years to get an EHCP that should have taken 20 weeks and that’s only via a tribunal and a judicial review pre-action protocol letter to get BCC to actually comply with the tribunal order.’

A total of 22 comments have been racked up since the post was published less than 24 hours ago.

A Local Offer is published by Local Authorities detailing the support services available for children and young people with Send.

In Bristol’s Ofsted and CQC Joint Send Inspection in October 2019, inspectors found areas of weakness and ‘significant concerns’ with Bristol’s identification and assessment of those with Send.

The report stated: ‘Some children and young people report that they did not have their needs identified early enough, particularly around their social and emotional health, and it had to get to crisis point before anything was done to help them. Parents and carers who spoke to inspectors confirmed this.’

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