Children with special educational needs must get more support, says West Norfolk MP
A West Norfolk MP has backed the findings of a House of Commons report which concluded many children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are being failed.
The inquiry by the influential Public Accounts Committee, published today, has called for "concrete action" from the government to address what it says are well-known shortcomings.
And it has set out six key recommendations for action, including the swift completion of a long-awaited government review of the sector.
One of the committee's members is the North West Norfolk MP, James Wild, who said: "This report shows the need for improved education for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in West Norfolk and across the country.
"During the inquiry, I raised concerns about the lack of consultation by Ofsted and the CQC with parents in Norfolk about the support their children are getting."
The committee said half of local authorities were not supporting children and young people with SEND properly and the Department for Education had not done enough to understand why they were such large differences between identified needs and access to support in many areas.
And the report warned that education, health and care (EHC) plans had become a "golden ticket" for parents to obtain proper support for their children, with those without such plans at risk of missing out.
Committee chair Meg Hillier said: “Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities deserve the same quality of education and to get the same value from our education system as their peers.
"Disturbing disparities in identifying pupils with SEND, and in provision for them, point to underlying problems that can only be addressed through proper data collection and information.
"These children, already facing extra hurdles and challenges in this life, must not find themselves discriminated against several times over.”
The government announced plans to review the provision last September.
And Mr Wild added: "I welcome the government’s commitment to review special education needs provision so that it meets the needs of young people and schools.”
But the report warned: "The weaknesses in support for children with SEND are well known - what we expect from the Department now is concrete action to address these significant failings."