PARENTS of a brain-injured girl have been embroiled in an "exhausting battle" with the county council to get her the education and services she is entitled to.

Tim Clarke’s brain-injured eight-year-old daughter has been left with virtually no provision since the age of five, when her complex difficulties prevented her from attending her mainstream primary school.

Mr Clarke, from St John's, has spoken out following the release of an Ofsted and CQC report into Worcestershire's special education needs and disability (SEND).

The report found improvements had been made in eight out of twelve significant weaknesses identified at the initial inspection in 2018.

However, it also found there were still fragile relationships with parents and issues remained with education and health care (EHC) plans.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education, recognised there is a lot more needed to be done to improve its SEND services and provision across Worcestershire.

Mr Clarke and his wife Ana applied for an EHC Plan in April 2019 but faced a painstaking and expensive battle with the local authority, while their daughter has been left without therapy or educational provision.

Left without support, their once bright and happy daughter – whose acquired brain injury was caused by an inflammatory brain condition – has deteriorated cognitively as well as socially and emotionally.

She is now too unwell to attend even a specialist setting.

Mr Clarke, 43, said: “It has been an absolutely exhausting battle and even now our daughter continues to be deprived of education or therapy apart from some activities that we have sourced ourselves.

These are the most critical years of a child’s brain development and yet the local authority has thwarted us at every stage in trying to get her the support she’s entitled to.

"Had she received the right therapy and support even just two years ago, I am certain she would be in a much better place. What little she has we have sourced and in some cases funded ourselves.”

The family finally secured a package of educational support and therapy at their tribunal hearing in September 2021.

The package – known as education other than at school (EOTAS) – includes nearly 40 hours of therapies and activities, as well as respite care each week.

But four months on from the Clarkes winning their appeal, the SEND team at County Hall has failed to implement the judge’s order.

They also claim the local authority has also repeatedly failed to address issues raised in two formal complaints lodged against the authority.

Cllr Hart said: “Despite a positive step forward overall with the feedback we received from the reinspection from OFSTED, we recognise there is a lot more that we need to do to improve our SEND services and provision across Worcestershire.

"We are sorry for any parent carer that has received a negative experience and we are working with the family to endeavour to agree and provide support and provision to meet their needs.

"Following the publication of the SEND reinspection report last week we fully accept the findings and we are working on an action plan to address the four remaining areas of concern and build on the progress we have made in the other eight areas.

"We will share this plan on the SEND Local Offer and with schools and settings and will provide updates about our progress and the impact of our work on a regular basis including feedback from families."