04:00PM, Thursday 28 September 2017
A headteacher has compared the council’s special educational needs and disability support for his school to banging his ‘head against the wall’.
Holyport College’s Walter Boyle said last week he felt he has to ‘fight with the borough for provision’ and demanded the issue was not ‘swept away’.
He spoke to the Royal Borough’s children’s services overview and scrutiny panel, which met to consider Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission’s damning report on the area’s special educational needs and disability support (SEND) services, which was released this month.
Inspectors spoke to leaders and managers at the council, the Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Group, health providers and schools in July.
While outlining some positives, such as some schools’ ‘excellent’ SEND provision, the report described a range of issues.
These included ‘wide variances in the quality of education, health and care plans’ and that ‘families pursue and secure what they need, in spite of what is on offer in the local area’.
Mr Boyle’s school, in Ascot Road, did not ‘have confidence in the borough’s ability to turn the situation around’, he told the meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall on Wednesday, September 20.
Leader of the council Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside), who described the report as ‘very concerning’ and ‘utterly unacceptable’, said: “What there is not going to be, in respect to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, is a whitewashing.”
Mr Boyle told Cllr Dudley he would ‘hold (him) to account’ over the issue.
An action plan, which is available to view on the Royal Borough’s website, sets out a timetable for improvements to the area’s SEND services.
This includes establishing a steering group between the council, health services, schools and parents which reviews term-by-term progress with an annual public report.
An ‘inclusion charter’, co-produced with parents and schools, will also set out SEND expectations.
The action plan will go to cabinet, Cllr Dudley confirmed, and he suggested that schools’ performances in SEND should be considered when future decisions about school funding are made.
Councillors heard from Kevin McDaniel, the director for children’s services, who said a meeting had been called by the council with the borough’s schools to discuss SEND earlier in the month.
He said the Windsor Learning Partnership, Cox Green School and Furze Platt Senior School did not send a representative but individual discussions with each were arranged later. Charters School sent an apology for not attending.
Cllr Dudley was ‘disappointed’ the council’s managing director Alison Alexander did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, though there appeared to be no requirement for her to do so.
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