SEND provision complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman rise – Friday 4 October 2019

This week I highlight publication of a report from Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman regarding the increase in complaints about SEND provision, the Government’s pledge to open a maths free school in all regions in England and Ofsted facing accusations it breached equality laws after failing to consult special needs organisations on its new framework.

SEND system ‘in crisis’ as complaints to Local Government Ombudsman soar
There has been a 45% rise in complaints to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman about SEND provision, in the last two years, a new report has stated. In addition to the surge in complaints, 9 out of 10 were upheld, according to the report ‘Not going to plan‘.

The complaints included long periods of delay, missed reviews, poor communication, and a lack oversight. The Ombudsman warned that this meant some of the most vulnerable children were not getting the support they needed, with a significant impact on their attainment.

Government pledge to open a maths free school “in every region” of England
At this week’s Conservative Party conference Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, pledged that there would be a maths free school in all regions of England. Currently there are only two maths schools in operation – King’s Maths School in London and Exeter Maths School. Maths schools are 16 to 19 institutions which combine maths A-levels with similar subjects such as physics and computing.

Projects are currently in the pipeline in Cambridge, Lancaster, Liverpool and Surrey, and the Education Secretary announced that the Government was working with higher and further education leaders to open a maths school in Durham.

Ofsted accused of legal breach over lack of SEND consultations
Ofsted is facing accusations it breached equality laws after failing to consult any special needs organisations on its new framework before its finalised plans went out to public consultation. The inspectorate also neglected to include any SEND-specific research in the 321 sources of analysis to help shape the framework according to Schools Week.

The inspectorate has now pledged to conduct a large scale research project into SEND after concerns about the level of research were raised during consultation.