I am pleased to report that following my campaign with other local Conservative MPs, the Government has announced that Oxfordshire County Council will receive a £1million grant under the Government’s ‘Delivering Better Value in SEND Programme’.
In Oxfordshire, the provision of special educational needs is critical. It is clear to me from the levels of correspondence I receive on the issue that OCC’s process of accessing additional support for children with suspected special educational needs is both complex and slow.
In recent months, I have remained acutely aware of the difficulties facing families in West Oxfordshire, whose children suffer from special education needs. I understand parents' concerns which are being repeatedly raised that they feel the County Council is not meeting its statutory responsibility to secure the provision set out in education, Health and Care Plans. Further to this, I am aware of how parents find the Council both unreceptive and inaccessible, with many experiencing significant delays in the implementation of EHCP recommendations.
To address this issue, alongside other Oxfordshire Conservative MPs, I wrote to the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, Claire Coutinho MP, to express my deep concerns on behalf of children and parents in West Oxfordshire.
On top of this, I recently made my contribution during a statement in the House of Commons on: ‘Special Educational Needs, Disabilities and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan’. During this contribution, I asked the Minister – “what she was doing to work with local authorities to make sure we cut through bureaucracy and get people assessed”.
Most recently, I met with the Minister along with other Oxfordshire Conservative MPs to again highlight the challenges facing children with special educational needs in Oxfordshire and the need for the Government to work with the County Council to bring about improvements in SEND provision.
I have been reassured by the Government’s positive response to my campaign which will help to deliver outreach services from SEND specialists to schools. This grant will help support pupils with SEMH, autism, learning difficulties, and moderate learning difficulties.
Oxfordshire County Council have a responsibility to use this grant efficiently and effectively to ensure children who suffer from special educational needs are able to access the support they deserve.
It is clear the Government is listening and taking seriously the concerns being raised and I will be following this up with the Council to ensure West Oxfordshire’s children are being allocated the appropriate support.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch via Robert@robertcourts.co.uk if there is anything I can do to help you and your family.