To: Birmingham City Council
Increase the number of SEN schools in Birmingham City Council
Unfortunately there aren’t enough special schools in Birmingham. Children with SEN are being denied SEN schools due to the lack of places available and local authority failing to complete an EHC needs assessment/ to apply an EHCP or to provide an appropriate EHCP, often denying the needs of a child needing to go to a specialist school.
Why is this important?
Thousands of parents are having to go through mediation or tribunals against the local authority, due to refusing EHC needs assessments, issuing EHCP’s (Education Health Care Plans) disagreeing with the content of the EHCP or naming a special school. Often local councils are naming a mainstream school that can’t meet the child’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Or a special school can’t be offered due to being over subscribed or not suitable if a child's needs are more substantial.
The cost to Her Majesty's Court & Tribunal Service is over £2000 per child. This pays for preparation, administration and the hearing day itself. Then there's the cost to the parties attending the SENDIST tribunal.
Councils lose 96% of SEND tribunals at a cost of just under £60m.
Almost 10,000 SEN unit places could have been funded with the money that councils wasted on unsuccessful court disputes with parents and carers seeking SEND support for their children.
Of 11,052 SEND tribunals registered by councils in 2021/22, a staggering 96% were won by parents, carers, and young people.
The result is £59.8m of public money wasted on SEND tribunals – enough to fund SEN unit placements for 9,960 young people.
Furthermore, nearly 3,500 further cases were withdrawn or conceded before they got to tribunal hearing.
The disturbing figures have been revealed in a study commissioned by the Disabled Children’s Partnership and published by Pro Bono Economics (Jemal & Kenley, 2023).
Furthermore, the number of SEND tribunals being brought is rising – with the 11,052 hearings in 2021/22 representing a 29% increase on 2020/21.
The £59.8m bill racked up by the lost tribunal cases is split between local authorities and the courts – they cost local authorities £46.2m and the courts £13.6m.
There is significant strain being placed on children and young people, as well as their parents and carers, while they battle for support.
How it will be delivered
By it being shared to a local MP as well as being sent to Birmingham City Council.