There are a number of comments in this article which are of concern, especially given the frequency with which these issues are also being raised by parents that contact us.
Annual reviews are a good opportunity to consider the child/young person's needs and to identify the provision that is required to meet these. They should not be used as a chance to remove provision due to funding restrictions. Legislation and guidance are very clear that, if provision is required due to the special educational needs of a child, this should be provided by the Local Authority.
Of further concern is the comment that one Local Authority refused to accept the evidence of a school, in requesting 2:1 support for a child. This is something that should have been amended in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), providing legal protection to the required level of support.
If there is professional evidence which suggests a higher level of support, this should be specified in the EHCP. If the Local Authority refuses to amend the EHCP this should be appealed to the SEN Tribunal.
“I’m very aware that the support can stop at any point. If they cut funding at an annual review they can remove support.” Among the provision under threat is transport for children with special needs, speech and language therapy, and teaching assistants who provide one-to-one support that can help keep children in mainstream schools. There is also widespread concern about the patchy introduction of ECHPs, which replaced statements for children with special needs and are often too vague to be effective. “They are cutting these placements to save money. He has made progress, and now they just want to take that away,” said Forsyth, who has three children with autism. Her school said she needed two-to-one support, but the local authority refused to fund it so Forsyth had little choice but to educate her at home.