Kingston Council committed to improving services for children with special education needs

Improvements to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) services in Kingston were presented to the and Wellbeing Board yesterday (TuesHealthday 28 January). 

Achieving for Children (AfC) and the council developed the SEND Transformation Plan jointly with partners and stakeholders, including Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, and local education providers. 

The plan was first approved as a working document in March 2019. Over the last few months the council has already made several key improvements to the services, including establishing a SEND Partnership Board, an active Parent Consortium, creating 84 new special school places since 2018, as well as completing 97% of our Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) within the statutory required time. 

There are approximately 3,800 children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) aged 0 to 25 living in, or going to school in Kingston. At the current rate, this is likely to increase to more than 4,500 in the next five years. 

Councillor Diane White, portfolio holder for Children’s Services at Kingston Council said: 

“One of the biggest improvements for Kingston is that we have increased the number of specialist school places by 84 in the past two academic years. We have really improved the quality of our EHCPS and are proud of completing the majority of EHCPs within the set timescales. 

“It’s vital that everyone works together to support children and young people with SEND and their families. The current funding committed by the Government does not meet the increasing demand. We want to make sure that the voices of children, their parents and carers are heard and taken into account when we address this funding gap and work to improve the quality of our services. 

“Our vision is that every child and young person with SEND is supported to engage in learning and has an educational experience that inspires them, unlocks and nurtures their talents, and provides a solid foundation for a happy and fulfilling life.”

The activities within the SEND Transformation Plan fall under six workstreams to transform services for children and young people with SEND. Updates to the plan will be discussed at the Children and Adults Care and Education committee on 30 January.