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TRAILBLAZING SPECIAL NEEDS REVIEW GETS NATIONAL PRAISE

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Parents across the country are benefiting from the findings of a trailblazing review of services supporting childre...
Parents across the country are benefiting from the findings of a trailblazing review of services supporting children with special educational needs in Oxfordshire.

The national parents advice group IPSEA (Independent Panel from Special Educational Advice) has started a campaign to get other councils to follow Oxfordshire CC's lead in commissioning such a review.

The advice group was so impressed with what has been achieved in Oxfordshire that they have created guidance of their own based on that used by Oxfordshire councillors who led the investigation.

Within the first 48 hours of launching their campaign, IPSEA received more than 250 requests for the guidance from parents and councillors across the whole country.

The councils investigation was the first of its kind. It looked closely to see if its service followed the legal duties expected of them and aimed to create a more clear and open system that parents could feel confident in.

Zoe Patrick, one of the Oxfordshire councillors who led the investigation on behalf of the council's learning and culture scrutiny committee, said: 'It's a real achievement to have six months of hard work being promoted across the country as an example of how councillors can look into services on behalf of the public and more importantly have a positive impact on those services that cater for our most vulnerable children.

'It's great that the changes in how the county council works now allows the public the right to request investigations into services they have concerns with.'

Cllr Christine Witcher who worked on the investigation with Cllr Patrick commented: 'With the introduction of the new disability act and special needs code of practice, and with the example of some appalling cases of bad practice against parents and children, councillors within every authority at the very least have a moral duty to ensure that independent member led investigations into their services take place.'

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