Bradford’s ‘parlous’ children’s services forcing some of the city’s children to Leeds schools, claims councillor

Children with special educational needs in Bradford are being encouraged to go to school in Leeds, according to a senior Leeds city councillor.
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Speaking at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s decision-making executive board, leader of the Conservatives group Coun Andrew Carter went on to claim neighbouring Bradford Council’s children’s services were in a “parlous” state, and that the authority was often late in its payments to Leeds schools.

It follows a report by council officers earlier this month that the number of children in Leeds with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) had more than doubled between 2014 and 2021.

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EHCPs are legal documents drawn up between a school, local authority and a child’s family which identifies additional learning needs a pupil may have.

Coun Andrew Carter.Coun Andrew Carter.
Coun Andrew Carter.

Coun Carter told the meeting: “The number of special educational needs children is rising quite rapidly. I have seen an issue with a neighbouring authority that I have raised with the Chief Executive.

“As you know, Bradford’s children’s services are in a parlous state – they have had a commissioner put in place. They are, I believe, encouraging children who have an education, health and care plan, in Bradford, to go to Leeds schools.

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“In one case, the young person concerned has moved onto secondary school and the primary school still hasn’t got the funding.”

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Leeds City Council’s executive member for education Coun Jonathan Pryor (Lab) said: “The specifics are going to differ from pupil to pupil, but I am more than happy to look into that.”

A report by Leeds City Council officers into the authority’s SEND strategy stated that there had been a “dramatic increase” in demand for EHCPs in recent years, with numbers within Leeds increasing from 2,041 at 2014, to 5,006 at the time of writing.

Bradford Council has been contacted for a comment.

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