SEND Application Processing Delayed

A mother who applied for specialist school placements for her twin sons more than 40 weeks ago said she had “got to the end of my tether”. Colleen Royall, 45, from Wymondham, Norfolk, said the battle was “taking a toll on all our mental health”. Miss Royall applied for placements for her sons, aged 13, on 30 December.

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Both have learning and behavioural difficulties and have been out of school since the October half-term.

Councils have up to 20 weeks to process requests for specialist education, health and care plans (EHCP).

A Norfolk County Council spokesman apologised but said meeting the 20-week deadline was “a significant challenge”.

Miss Royall said: “Different people have told me different things. It’s been a shambles from the beginning.

“The whole process has been so stressful. It’s taking a toll on all our mental health.”

She added that her sons were “bored stiff” at home, and she was struggling to keep them occupied.

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Norfolk County Council said it had 1,300 requests for EHCPs, and that 580 plans had been completed in the last three months.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry that Mrs Royall is still waiting for an outcome; we recognise this must be an incredibly difficult time for her and her family.

“We have many requests for EHCPs, and although we are working hard to improve our performance, meeting the 20-week deadline remains a real challenge.”

Miss Royall said she had been offered a place at a specialist school in Suffolk, but it was not suitable for her sons.

She added: “I want what’s best for my boys. They need to be in school and getting the education they deserve.”

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