Bexley failing its special needs pupils, watchdog says

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Bexley council’s special education needs department has been given the lowest possible rating by Ofsted, with many children having educational, health and care plans that were ‘well out of date’.

The authority has been told by the council and the South East London Integrated Care Board to urgently address significant concerns which reportedly arose from ‘systemic failings’.

The watchdog’s report said the quality of children’s educational, health and care (EHC) plans varied considerably, adding that children were not supported to prepare for adult life early enough and their voices were not heard well.

The report said: “Too many children and young people across different ages and phases have an EHC plan that is well out of date and does not reflect their current needs or provision.”

The Bexley Labour Group said: “We have consistently raised the concerns of parents specifically around the areas of EHC plans and yet these concerns have been ignored.”

On the plus side, the authority was praised for putting significant investment into increasing places in special schools. Children were said to achieve well academically, and young adults with learning disabilities reportedly had their health needs reviewed annually.

The Bexley Local Area Partnership, which includes Bexley council and the South East London Integrated Care Board, said: “As a partnership, we had already identified some of the areas that the inspection highlighted, and commenced delivery on these.”

Pictured top: Bexley Civic Centre (Picture: Google Street View)

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