TWO Hampshire councils have failed to deliver plans for children with special educational needs as they prepare to move to secondary school this September.

Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request by specialist education lawyers Simpson Millar show more than 100 councils, including Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council, have not fulfilled their legal duties.

They failed to meet the statutory deadline for issuing final transition educational health and care plans to children with special educational needs.

Across the country 2,405 children have been left waiting for plans, despite the fact that authorities had a legal duty to deliver it by February 15 – in time for parents to help their children make the move, or appeal.

Education solicitor Samantha Hale, from Simpson Millar, said: “Parents of children with special educational needs are understandably often anxious about school changes, and their opportunity to review and challenge the provision set out in these plans is severely hampered if they are not provided on time.

“This is a statutory deadline, put in place to ensure a sensible and managed transition for children who otherwise might find the whole thing very stressful. If the plans are not issued on time, parents who wish to appeal might not be able to have it heard by the tribunal.”

A spokeswoman for Southampton City Council said 21 plans were not completed on time, a reduction in the number of late transitions compared last year. Fifteen relate to Great Oaks School, while three relate to Springwell Special school.

The spokeswoman said: “Due to an increase in the demand for places at [Great Oaks] school, we had to apply to the Department for Education in order to increase their numbers. This has to go through a timed consultation process, which took longer than expected and took us outside of the statutory timeframes.

“The panel for this school sat later than normal this year, due to an increase in numbers, which again took us outside of the deadline.”

Councillor Peter Edgar, executive member for education at the county council, said: “We acknowledge we need to improve the speed of assessment, and are putting steps in place to streamline the process through new technology.”