KCC disputes conclusions drawn in controversial SEND story

KCC has responded firmly to recent criticism of its Special Educational Needs service.

Stories based Information from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism followed an hour-long interview with some of the senior officers within the service and the Chair of the Kent Association of Headteachers.

A KCC spokesman said: “It was a wide-ranging discussion in which we tried to offer insight into the challenges we face in Kent and some of the statements attributed to the senior officers are partial quotes taken out of context

“We see schools and parents as equal partners and will continue to collaborate with them to make sure children and young people with SEND have every opportunity to do well at school and in life.

“The published story states there are 11,073 EHCPs in the county, whereas the true figure is 19,500. Each EHCP represents a considerable amount of work for the various partners supporting each child.

“KCC is said to have the highest SEN deficit in the country, at £103million. In fact, at the time of the interview, there was another authority In the South East – Surrey – with a higher deficit, although it has since received a substantial amount of safety valve funding which has reduced it.

“In addition, there are at least another 20 local authorities which have a larger percentage of their budget as a deficit.

“There is no disputing that in Kent we have a number of considerable challenges, but we do have a much-improving picture in a number of key areas in our SEND provision and experiences across the county.

“Our timeliness of EHCP assessments is now better than the national average and we do not have an Educational Psychology backlog for a child to have an assessment, during a time of national shortages for EPs.

“Parental satisfaction is running at between 60-70% in feedback surveys, compared with a national situation of 68% feeling their children’s EHCP needs were not being met.

“The SEN service and Parents and Carers Together won an award from Healthwatch for their work around listening to the voice of parents and it is unfortunate that the article makes no reference to these improvements.”

KCC disputes conclusions drawn in controversial SEND story was last modified: May 5th, 2022 by Murray Evans