Parents’ school plan wait

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

Almost 100 Derbyhsire children with special educational needs have been left waiting for a plan that is supposed to help them move from primary to secondary school this September.

The deadline for Derbyshire County Council to have produced a final transition Education Health Care plan for children with special educational needs was 15th February 2016.

But according to official figures obtained by law firm Simpson Millar the council missed the deadline for 99 children.

Thomas Mitchell, a specialist education solicitor, at Simpson Millar, said local authorities had a legal duty to carry out an assessment by the February deadline so parents had time to prepare their children for the transition.

He added: “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 cannot begin the planning and handover process, which is absolutely vital.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council told the Derbyshire Times this week: “Almost all children have had their school placement confirmed and of these there are only 14 children where our records show that a Final EHC Plan to confirm this place has not yet been issued.

“Most were completed by March and the remaining handful will hopefully be finished within the next fortnight or so.

“Allocating places at secondary schools for children with special needs is a lengthy process which involves us consulting with schools to see if they can meet the needs of each child who wants to go there.

“We need to take our time to make sure that the right decision is made both for the child involved, and the other children who are already at the school.”