Local authorities miss school deadline for over 3,800 special needs children


More than 3,800 children with special educational needs have been left waiting for the plan that is supposed to help them move from primary to secondary school this September.

The legal deadline for local authorities to have produced a final transition Education Health Care plan for children with special educational needs was 15 February 2016. But according to official figures, 111 local authorities missed the deadline for a staggering 3,812 children.

Specialist education solicitor, Thomas Mitchell, from Simpson Millar, said: “The February deadline was crucial for parents who need time to prepare their children for the transition, and for those who wish to appeal the provision or placement set out in the plan.

"The fact that so many local authorities have been unable to meet the deadline is quite concerning and hugely upsetting for parents.”

The deadline was introduced to make sure leave parents and teachers enough time to prepare a sensible transition for children who otherwise risk getting a poor start in secondary school.

Mr Mitchell said: “The draft plan should have been ready a minimum of four weeks before the final deadline so that parents had enough time to review it and provide important feedback. Without knowing where their child will attend secondary school, parents can’t begin the planning and handover process, which is absolutely vital.

“Thousands of children with special educational needs now face a stressful, poorly managed and hugely overwhelming transition from primary to secondary school. The local authorities that have failed to meet the deadline could all face a judicial review.”

Being included in organised induction activities before the summer holidays is essential for children with special educational needs – some of whom need additional time and support to cope with major life changes.

Every Child Update