Provision for children with special educational needs must improve in Worcestershire

That’s not just the view of campaigner and charity founder Kim Philpotts; it’s admitted by Worcestershire County Council in its new strategy for children with special needs.

Councillor Marcus Hart, who has cabinet responsibility for education and skills at County Hall told his Conservative colleagues : “Every child in the county deserves a happy, healthy and fun-filled childhood.”

After they approved the new plan which will run until 2021, he said: “We know that there is a need to strengthen, develop and deliver services to meet the needs of children, young people with SEND and their parents and carers.

“Working with partners to develop this strategy clearly demonstrates our commitment towards supporting all children and young people to get the best start to life.”

There are 8244 two-to-four year olds and 10,863 school-age children and young people who need special help in Worcestershire.

The strategy says: “We have been told that families have to struggle to access the right services in a well-coordinated way and parents/carers want to have better information and support [so] they are better equipped to meet their child’s needs.

“Families, schools and other professionals have commented that some children could be better supported in education provision nearer to home but need to access specialist and alternative education provision.”

The strategy says that it must ensure “children parents and carers are engaged throughout ... and truly feel that co-production is happening.”

It adds that special educational needs must be identified early and the council will recommission community and family-based short breaks

Kim Philpotts who founded the charity What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful said: “Any improvement would be welcomed, and it’s important that the council realises it needs to improve, although with all the cuts I’m not certain how they will achieve it.

“We are seeing more and more families who are home-schooling their children and the feedback is that more and more children are not having their needs met in schools, and the families have no other option than to educate their children at home.