Councillors Criticised in SEND Petition Presented to CBC

Central Bedfordshire SEND Action Group has presented a petition to Central Bedfordshire Council's Executive Committee, today, 13 October. The address to the committee and the response of the Executive member, Councillor Sue Clark, can be heard below. A written response to the petitioners was promised.

Afterwards, Councillor James Jamieson spoke up for Councillor Clark and Councillor Dodwell expressing his belief that the councillors were determined to get things right for SEND.


The Petition

[link to source] We the undersigned petition the council to We believe that Cllr. Sue Clark and Cllr. Amanda Dodwell, Executive and Deputy Executive Members for Children's Services, have failed to understand the depth of the SEND crisis, and we have no confidence in their abilities to turn around their department. We the undersigned ask the Leader of the Council to dismiss both Cllrs. Clark and Dodwell from the Executive with immediate effect.
Long before the Ofsted/CQC inspection, SEND families in Central Bedfordshire were fighting for a suitable education for their children. This has resulted in the emotional and financial destruction of many SEND families.

Nine months on from the failed SEND Ofsted inspection, there are:

- children with special needs who have NO school place to return to this week.

- children who remain on long-term part-time timetables because either no placement is available for them, or CBC refuse to assess their needs.

- children returning to mainstream placements where their needs can't be met, their mental health will suffer and this will impact on the rest of their class.

- families paying tens of thousands of pounds each to fight CBC at tribunals, to get their children's needs met. CBC lose almost all of these tribunals.

- families who have given up on the system and felt forced to home educate, because no school place is available and they can't emotionally or financially afford to fight CBC any longer.

- EHCPs full of provisions that are written in a style such that they could never be legally upheld.

- Government statistics showing that more than half of all school exclusions in Central Bedfordshire are of children with special needs.

At the root of this are Executive Councillors who have turned a blind eye to the crisis. They have reported nothing but good news and then failed to adequately respond to scrutiny from other Councillors.

All trust and confidence in these Executive Members is long gone. CBC cannot expect parents to move on when the Executive Members who allowed the crisis to happen in the first place are still in post.

We would urge CBC residents to sign this petition in support of the SEND families and their disabled children, who struggle every day because of these ongoing failures.

To be presented at the 13th Oct 2020 Executive Meeting.

This ePetition ran from 09/09/2020 to 09/10/2020 and has now finished.

321 people signed this repetition.