Birmingham & Black Country

Special needs exclusions in Walsall 'disproportionate'

Walsall Council House Image copyright Google
Image caption The report criticised the authority's "significant weaknesses" in supporting SEND pupils

Nearly half of excluded children in Walsall have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) despite only making up 13% of the school population, a watchdog has reported.

Ofsted criticised Walsall Council's "significant weaknesses" in supporting SEND pupils.

The authority said it recognised "young people and their families deserve much better services".

It must now submit a written plan of action to address its failings.

The plan of action must explain how it will tackle areas of weakness, including "the high and disproportionate numbers of fixed-term and permanent exclusions of children and young people with SEND".

A joint Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found outcomes for pupils with SEND lag behind the national average "across all key stages".

The report criticised the "lack of accountability" at the council and inappropriate provision and support for SEND pupils.

"Children, young people and their families continue to be let down by Walsall," the report said.

'Fight for children'

The report said parents had told inspectors they had been forced to quit work to "fight" for their children and told how this had impacted on their mental health and well-being.

Walsall Council said it was sorry some children had not received adequate services but it "fully intends to deliver" the report's recommendations for improvement.

"This gives us the opportunity to plan and provide good and sustainable services for Walsall," it added.

The inspection took place in February.

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