William Eichler 05 February 2024

Suffolk councillors resign over ‘widespread’ SEND failings

Suffolk councillors resign over ‘widespread’ SEND failings  image
Image: Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock.com.

Three senior councillors have resigned their cabinet posts at Suffolk County Council after a damning report found there were ‘widespread’ failings affecting outcomes for children with SEND.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted found that children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in Suffolk face a system that ‘has not worked well for a long time.’

The inspectors noted several areas where the council has improved but concluded that leaders have not ‘urgently or effectively addressed systemic and significant weaknesses’ in SEND provision since concerns were first raised in 2016.

Cllrs Rachel Hood, James Reeder, and Chris Chambers on Saturday resigned as cabinet members for education, SEND and skills, children and young people's services, and deputy cabinet member for SEND respectively.

In a joint letter they described the report as ‘extraordinarily disappointing’ and said their positions had become a ‘distraction’.

The decision by the councillors follows the departure of the county council’s executive director of people services and director of children and young people last year.

A restructure of senior officer leadership in children’s services is already underway, according to the council’s chief executive, Nicola Beach.

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