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19 September, 2018

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Further improvements to SEND provision in Cheshire East planned

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A set of recommendations to improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been welcomed by Cheshire East Council’s cabinet.

A report, written by the authority’s children and families overview and scrutiny committee, sets out 17 recommendations which aim to improve services since the introduction of new legislation.

The new rules require local authorities and health partners to reform the way they support and identify children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The recommendations include:

● Any shortfalls in services for children and young people with moderate learning difficulties and autism are addressed

● All schools are encouraged to welcome children with SEND

● The working relationship between schools, health service and the council continues to improve, particularly in the production of education, health and care plans (EHCPs)

The report follows an inspection of SEND services across the area by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission earlier this year.

The inspectors recommended that Cheshire East should produce and submit a written statement of action to explain how it will tackle:

  • the timeliness, process and quality of EHCPs
  • the lack of an effective pathway for children and young people with autism
  • unreasonable waiting times.

Cllr Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “We welcome the recommendations from this report as we recognise the significant challenges faced by families of children with special educational needs and disabilities.  

“We also know that some of our processes and support in Cheshire East are not to the standard that we all want and that our children and young people deserve. 

“We welcome the work done to date, both by the members of the overview and scrutiny committee and our officers and are absolutely clear that any delay in either the council or partner processes must be addressed.”

Cllr Saunders added: “I would like to thank the members of the scrutiny committee for their hard work and we look forward to continuing to work together to improve the experiences and outcomes for Cheshire East’s children and young people with SEND.”

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