County’s key role in special needs

MAJOR innovations in the way services are provided for youngsters with special needs are to be put to the test by a joint collaboration of South East councils.

Following a successful bid led by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) a partnership of councils called South East 7 (SE7) will trial potential reforms to the way disabled young people, those with learning difficulties and other special educational needs, from birth to 25 years of age are assessed and provided with support.

The Government unveiled its proposals for change in a Green Paper on special educational needs and disabilities earlier this year. It recently announced that SE7 and its health service and voluntary sector partners, will be asked to pilot those changes.

The SE7 includes ESCC, Brighton and Hove City Council, Kent County Council, Hampshire County Council, Medway Council, West Sussex County Council and Surrey County Council.

The area serves 1.3million children including more than 24,000 with special educational needs.

County council Lead Member for Children’s and Adults’ Services, Cllr David Elkin, said: “These will be significant changes to the way we support young people with special needs and disabilities and their families.

“It will be about redesigning the system to put the child and their families at the centre of the process, giving them more choice and control, and looking at all of a child’s needs. I am delighted we’ll get the chance to play a key role.”