Criticism of special needs statements

Parents of children with special needs have to
fight to get a statutory assessment and then find the process to be
stressful and alienating, the Audit Commission has found.

Even after assessment, children with similar
needs then receive different levels of support depending on where
they live, their school and the assertiveness of their parents.

The commission has recommended a high-level
review to consider options for reform to provide a “fairer, more
efficient and more responsive” system.

It condemned the current process as costly and
slow with a statement taking six months to produce and costing

Parents and children complained that
statements gave little guarantee that a child would receive the
support needed in school because of weak monitoring arrangements
and shortfalls in social services.

Although the government has made a number of
recent changes, including the Special Educational Needs and
Disability Act 2001, there remain tensions in the statutory
framework, said the report.

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