MP says its right the County Council have accepted full responsibility for SEND failures


Victoria Prentis is relieved the report validated the concerns she and her colleagues had held for some time

Banbury’s MP, Victoria Prentis, says it is right that Oxfordshire County Council have accepted full responsibility following Friday’s news of “widespread systemic failings” in the county’s provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

She added that the reported “widespread lack of confidence in area leadership” highlighted in the report came as no surprise to her.

The assessment by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission found not enough young people were getting access to the education provision they needed in the county.   They also criticized the quality of health care plans, said families felt they were not being listened to and noted outcomes were very dependant on who dealt with a case.

Local SEND services are provided by Oxfordshire’s Local Area Partnership.   This comprises Oxfordshire County Council, the local NHS Integrated Care Board, and the county’s main NHS Trusts.

Mrs Prentis was relieved to see that the report validated the concerns she and her colleagues had held for some time.

She said: “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the 2,000 parents and carers who took the time to share with Ofsted and CQC their deeply personal experiences of fighting for support. I know from Ofsted that this was a significantly larger response than normal for this type of inspection.

“I have long raised constituents’ concerns with the leadership at Oxfordshire County Council, but have often found them difficult to engage with. Having met a number of parents and carers to discuss their experiences, I know how challenging it has been for them to have their voices heard.

“It is unacceptable that only 5,427 out of approximately 23,000 children and young people with SEND in Oxfordshire had an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in place in January 2023.”

The Partnership are now putting together a priority action plan.   Mrs Prentis will be meeting Dr Martin Reeves – the Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council – later this month to discuss the next steps.

She said: “It is right that the County Council have accepted full responsibility for their failings. They must now right their wrongs, overhaul their processes and restore confidence in the system. Those seeking help and support from the Council deserve better.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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