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'Lack of belief' in Dudley's special educational needs system

By Jordan Reynolds | Dudley | Education | Published:

Headteachers and governors have a “complete lack of trust” in the special educational needs and disabilities system in Dudley, a report has said.

Dudley Council has been told to help address “significant weakness” in the area’s SEND practices

It comes after Dudley Council and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group were told action was required over “significant weakness” in the area’s SEND practices.

Inspectors asked for a written statement of action to be handed over by the end of this month after their visit in May.

A consultation has now taken place over plans to transfer £1 million from the borough’s mainstream schools to children with disabilities for the next school year.

But nine out of 10 of the educational leaders asked said they were against the plans, and the “consistent theme” from the discussion was that there is a “complete lack of trust and belief in the SEND system”, according to a report to the Dudley Schools Forum.

The forum, which is made up of headteachers, governors and stakeholders, was presented with the information on Tuesday evening.

The council revealed in September that the cost of special educational needs and disabilities service is predicted to overrun by £5m this year.

And figures sent out to schools say that figure could increase to £22m by March 2024.

The forum was asked to note the consultation outcome and give a view.

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Cath Knowles, interim director of children’s services said: “We know that providing strong, consistent SEND support to our children and young people is essential.

"While we do have some good provision, we know that there are still areas where we can improve which is why we have committed to delivering on our new SEND strategy, which was approved in the autumn.

“We respect the outcome of the consultation with schools and will be looking at all funding options for this essential provision, with a view to making a decision about our next step in the coming weeks.”

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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