Proposals to improve support for children with special educational needs and disabilities are open to consultation.
Developed after 12 months of talks with parents and carers, as well as representatives from Staffordshire’s schools, health and social care experts, the proposals look to provide proactive early intervention and increasing capacity to educate children with SEND in mainstream schools.
If accepted the new way of providing support is scheduled to be in place across the county by September 2024.
Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Education and SEND, said: “Our long-term aim is for children and young people with SEND is that that they receive the right support in the right place at the right time and that they can be educated close to home.
“We have been talking in detail with parents, carers and all those involved in the provision of education and care in Staffordshire to develop our proposals to this stage and now we want to make sure we have a system that works for everyone, wherever they are in the county.”
In Staffordshire 21,000 children currently require SEN support, or have an Education, Health and Care Plan, an increase of 29 per cent in five years.
At the same time, the number of county pupils attending special schools is higher than the national average, with only 27 per cent of children with SEND attending a mainstream school, compared to 40.5 per cent nationally.
The new strategy being consulted aims to develop proactive early intervention and additional support across all the county’s mainstream schools.
The consultation will be open until July 5th, 2023. People can participate in the consultation by giving feedback online or in face-to-face sessions.
Jonathan Price added: “When it comes to supporting children to learn and achieve there are many examples of excellent practice across Staffordshire and we must build upon what we know works well.
“We are all passionate about our children’s education and I hope many people share their thoughts in this consultation before we move to the next stage.
Details can be found at: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/SENDConsultation2023