ePetition details

Improve SEND Services

We the undersigned petition the council to ensure that Kent County Council complies with the points set out in the justification below (1) - (10). Despite the 2019 and 2022 Ofsted/CQC visit and re-visit which highlighted nine areas needing improvement, and the subsequent Improvement Notice and Accelerated Progress Plan, we, who are the parents/carers of children and young people with SEND or are young people who access SEND services, are not experiencing an improved service. Quite the contrary.

We urge that you, as our Councillors, make yourselves familiar with the relevant legislation regarding SEND. We ask that Councillors take steps to ensure that Kent County Council:

1) Improve their communication with us - please provide a non-automated response to our emails and phone calls within five days (though preferably as soon as possible as delays cause a great deal of anxiety) and be honest in all your communications with us. Over the last year, many parents/carers have found that communication with KCC has deteriorated even further with the introduction of the SEND Enquiries Hub.

2) Improves decision making (make the right decision first time round) - too many parents/carers/young people are still having to appeal decisions that KCC are making regarding EHC plans, school placements and EHCN assessments.

3) Complies fully with the SEND Code of Practice and the Children and Families Act 2014 - make sure that all relevant staff are familiar with the laws regarding SEND.

4) Adheres to all statutory timescales for: EHCN assessments, issuing EHC plans, Annual Reviews of EHC plans, Amending EHC plans and naming placements that can meet SEND needs by phase transfer deadlines (instead of naming placements for children and young people that are wholly unsuitable to meet their needs and thus forcing families to appeal to obtain a suitable placement).

5) Produces high quality EHC plans that fully comply with the SEND Code of Practice regarding content, such as describing all SEN in Section B, SMART outcomes in Section E and SEN provision that is detailed and specific in Section F.

6) Complies with all Tribunal orders and decisions within the legal timescales.

7) Provides EOTAS packages for those children and young people for whom they are unable to find a suitable placement, or for whom school is inappropriate.

8) Ensures that all educational settings know how to carry out Annual Reviews that fully comply with the SEND code of Practice.

9) Ensures that caseworkers are consistent and keep accurate records of all correspondence, so that families do not have to repeat information.

10) Ensures that all educational settings identify and support children and young people with SEN, whether they have a diagnosis and/or EHC plan or not.

Our children only have one chance at childhood. The children and young people with SEND today, are the voters of the future - we hope that you listen to us and give them a reason to vote for you at future elections by taking steps to improve their lives now. The wellbeing of children and young people with SEND in Kent is in your hands, please do not let them down.

For point 2, a previous FOI request showed that, in 2023, for cases that were concluded that year concerning refusal to assess, 97 cases were conceded by the LA before the case got to the hearing stage, 69 cases were "won" by the appellant, and only 6 cases were "won" by the LA.

This ePetition runs from 22/04/2024 to 31/05/2024.

279 people have signed this ePetition.