The Isle of Wight has been found to have the third longest delay in the country for providing children who have special educational needs, with a finalised education, health and care plan (EHC).
An FOI investigation by the BBC has revealed that although the law states councils should normally finalise EHCs within 20 weeks, the Isle of Wight had the third the longest individual wait for a finalised EHC plan at 1,005 days (over two and a half years).
The BBC asked 152 councils about the time it took to issue EHC plans. 65 councils provided comparable data for the last four academic years, starting in 2014-15.
At the top of the list was Suffolk with 1,023 days, followed by Tower Hamlets at 1,014 days.
Delays to autism diagnoses
Long delays with the diagnosis of autism have been widely reported over the last year, with an estimated 430 children on the waiting list.
One Isle of Wight teenager with autism said she was driven to a suicide attempt after her decade-long battle for a diagnosis.
The Isle of Wight CCG commissioned a pilot scheme to assess 50 children waiting for a diagnosis using an online programme.
Ofsted raised concerns
Ofsted’s Annual Report at the end of last year highlighted the success of some schools to turn themselves around being mired by the fact “we are not doing well enough for children who need extra support, including those with SEND”.
Ofsted’s South East director, Chris Russell, said,
“Children with SEND are also not always receiving the support and help they need.”
Union: “Crisis in SEND catastrophic for children”
Speaking at the end of last year when Ofsted released their Annual Report, secretary of the Isle of Wight National Education Union (NUT Section), Dominic Coughlin, said:
“Ofsted deplores the delay in the identification and support of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) but refuses to identify the decimation of local-authority funding which has led to the crisis in SEND which is so catastrophic for children and their parents.
“The true test of a society is how we look after the most vulnerable. Without the desperately needed funding, we will not be able to properly provide for children with SEND.”
OnTheWight has contacted the Isle of Wight council for a response to the news and will update once we hear back from them.