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Somerset Send services plan needs to 'walk the walk'

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image captionSpecial educational needs and disabilities (Send) can affect a child or young person's ability to learn

Parents of children with special educational needs say the local authority needs to "walk the walk" after it announced a "blueprint for improvement" to services.

A plan for Send - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities - services has been approved by government inspectors.

Parent Julie Barnes says while it "talks the talk" she wants to see more action.

Somerset County Council says improvements will occur over 18 months.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission said significant improvements were needed after they inspected in March.

Ms Barnes, from North Newton, has two children with additional needs.

'Passing the buck'

She said: "On a basic level it reads quite well, it says all the right things, but then Somerset County Council policy always generally does say all the right things, but putting it into practice is a different story.

"They talk the talk, but they do not walk the walk. Their actions need to reflect what the statement says."

She added while she appreciated the intent of agencies to work more closely together, this is not happening with each "passing the buck" to the other and no one willing to "fund the provision these children need from their own budget".

She said what is really needed is more money and more buildings to house pupils in.

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image captionSomerset County Council were told to put together a statement detailing how they will make urgent improvements to services

The statement of action by Somerset County Council and the NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group commits to nine areas of improvement which it says will put parent carers and children at the heart of planning.

Cabinet member for children's services, Frances Nicholson, said she hopes families will start seeing a difference "very shortly".

She admitted the service had "a lot of progress to make" but described the blueprint as "an important milestone".

More than 750 parents gave their feedback to help develop the statement of action.

Related Topics

  • Somerset County Council
  • Special needs
  • Ofsted

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