The review this week into SEND provision in Suffolk made sobering reading. The inspection carried out by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission didn’t pull any punches and was unequivocal in concluding that in Suffolk we have failed to decisively move forward from the failures of the past and vast numbers of people with complex needs and their families are being badly let down.

It is very depressing that after years of failure and multiples reviews and inspections from a variety of different organisations here we are again.

The failings are deep and extensive covering poor communications, major delays, significant issues with ECH plans and major issues around the diagnosis of different neurodivergent conditions such as autism.

The thing that I was most sad about was reading that those with special educational needs in Suffolk are doing significantly worse than those in other areas and their life chances are less.

SEND is a challenge at a national level and I sympathise with the challenges that Suffolk County Council face around funding but even taking all of this into account it does not excuse the SEND failings that we continue to see locally.

Yes, it has been pleasing to see two new special schools in Ipswich over the past few years. Both the Sir Bobby Robson School and Woodbridge Road Academy are carrying out brilliant work and providing invaluable support to those who have been lucky enough to get a place. However, this represents a small proportion of the total number of young people with special educational needs who need extra support.

I see through my constituency casework every week the number of families that are struggling with a disjointed, adversarial, and often illogical system.

Enough is enough. If this was the first damning report into our SEND provision we had received, perhaps families and those most impacted by the failures would be more willing to give the benefit of the doubt and give Suffolk County Council the time and space it needs to correct the wrongs in the system. However, this is not the first time. And frankly the stakes are too high.

Whilst I acknowledge that there have been recent personnel changes, the question remains as to whether the senior officers and leadership team responsible for SEND provision have ever truly been held to account for the failures. There seems to be a cultural issue that needs to be addressed due to these repeated failures. In these circumstances, I really feel for the families and individuals who have been on the sharp end of the failures and I think it is asking too much to expect them to have hope that there will be decisive improvements without significant change.

None of this is any way acceptable but I want to assure all my constituents that I am deeply committed to trying to ensure that a step change takes place when it comes to the provision of special educational needs in Suffolk. This is a matter incredibly close to my heart. I am someone who has learning disabilities myself (dyspraxia and dyslexia) and I was one of the lucky ones who ended up getting the support I needed. It was at the point when I was diagnosed at the age of 12 that things turned around for me, so I really despair at how difficult it remains for so many others locally with special educational needs to get the diagnosis they need.

There are changes that need to take place at a national level and we definitely need more funding and changes that cover mainstream educational settings also. However, with Suffolk there are very specific local issues and I plan to meet with all the relevant people soon to discuss the significant change that needs to happen.

Tom Hunt is Conservative MP for Ipswich