A crucial report into Bromley’s special education is set to be withheld until after the general election.
Members of Bromley’s health and well-being committee were told Ofsted’s report on the borough’s Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) provision has been finalised, but won’t be released until after the December 12 general election.
Councillors were told this was due to purdah -the period of restricted local government activity put in place before elections in order to avoid influencing the outcome.
The committee was informed that Ofsted, as a rule, wouldn’t release a report during purdah.
While they were satisfied with that, Harvey Guntrip, an advisory member sitting on the board, reiterated the importance of special education and needs provision continuing to be a key focus of the authority.
“This is not stuff that is ‘airy-fairy’,” he said.
“There’s a big percentage of kids that are turning up who have some special education or health need…it will only save us money if we do the right thing now.”
He said addressing special educational and disability needs during school would stop “it costing ten times the amount” later on in life.
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission conducted their inspection of Bromley’s schools and services between September 16 and 20.
According to a council report, Bromley is “managing a continued and unprecedented increase in demand for provision for children and young people who have SEND”.
This has placed “significant pressure” on High Needs Funding and local provision, an issue which authorities across the country are facing.
Currently, there are 2,449 Bromley children and young people who have an educational, health and care plan, with a further 5,845 aged 2 to 19 receiving special educational needs support.