Review of all BMBC SEND services by key stakeholders

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BMBC are failing children and young people who have a diagnosis of special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND). Therefore, we are demanding an independent investigation that considers all parties views before a substantial amount of capital and operational investment is committed to SEND provision.

Assessment and review have consistently broken the legal timeframes for statutory processes and more recently have sent out final education, health and care plans in an attempt to meet deadlines, this has been done in direct conflict with parental voice. These actions are seeing parents forced into tribunal proceedings with the LA, tribunal cases that are largely avoidable should the LA fulfil its duties in line with the law. It is an unnecessary waste and contributes to a higher cost and more inefficient use of LA resources. 

The code of practice, implemented following the 2014 SEND reforms, is clear that children, young people and their families should be part of all decision-making processes and that their voices should be included in service planning. Barnsley has failed to adhere to this. There has been no formal parental engagement since July 2016. Plans to address this have been thwarted by repeated lies in public arenas by senior LA officers. This has destroyed parental confidence in BMBC. Plans to introduce a third party have been objected to by many, but still the LA are continuing with limited input from parents at a highly inflated cost to all contributing.

The debts in the high need funding block are a result of poor management and abject failure to recognise the volume of children and young people who fall into this category. These issues were identified four years previously and the LA did not support a consortium of parents and a then Specialist school MAT. Funding has been transferred from the Schools Block Funding into the High Needs Funding Block, which is forecasted to have an almost ten million pound debt by 2019/20. Main stream schools are beginning to become more involved in providing education for children with SEND both now and in the future.  

Furthermore, a failure from the LA to exercise the powers awarded to them via the code of practice has seen continuing failure and exclusions from education by academies in our town.

The SEND sufficiency strategy is unclear in how it intends to effectively address the lack of local provision. Repeated attempts to request this information have seen a failure to respond. Recent commissioning of out of borough provision has seen Barnsley children educated in portacabins. The exclusion rates for children and young people with SEND is amongst the highest in the country (2nd), likewise with children and young people out of education. The data reported is based solely on legal exclusions, many young people in our town are still subjected to illegal exclusions in the hope to avoid further increases to negative data reports.

It is not enough to point out failings of other LA’s as an excuse for your own. We are losing a generation of children and young people with SEND. This cannot be tolerated or allowed to continue. Recent SEND talkabout sessions with Rachel Dickinson, Richard Lynch and Margaret Liberia demonstrated a lack of understanding of the impact on LA actions on SEND families. Rachel Dickinson openly acknowledged that a failure to communicate and engage with parents has led to a situation where they believe they are doing well and parents do not agree. The culture of cover ups and excuses MUST end.

There is a clear lack of accountability for these failings.

Please sign this petition to show your support, and please share it with your family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Thank you.


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