111 councils have delayed plans for SEN children, FoI finds

According to a Freedom of Information request (FoI) by specialist lawyers Simpson Millar, over 100 local authorities have failed to produce a plan to help children with special educational needs (SEN) transition to secondary school.

The findings from the FoI suggested that 3,812 children are yet to have an educational Health Care plan put in place by their local council, despite the deadline passing three months ago.

Thomas Mitchell, a solicitor at Simpson Millar, warned that thousands of children could now face a ‘stressful, poorly managed and hugely overwhelming transition’ from primary to secondary school’.

He 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 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.”