Waltham Forest council failed to provide for 93 per cent of young people with special needs moving from school to college, an education law specialist has claimed.

Only seven of 110 youngsters in the borough moving from school to further education were given an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

The plan is designed to help children with special needs transferring from school to post-16 education or apprenticeships.

A Freedom of Information request by law firm Simpson Millar revealed 114 councils across the UK failed to meet the new March 31 deadline for issuing EHC plans this year.

Imogen Jolley, head of Education at Simpson Millar, said: “Local authorities have a legal duty to prepare and issue EHC plans for young people with special educational needs – setting out their transition from school to a college placement or apprenticeship.

“The new deadline was intended to allow parents time to prepare their young person for a transition which can otherwise cause a great degree of stress and anxiety.

“We have clearly uncovered a systemic problem which is affecting thousands of young people with special educational needs at a crucial time in their education.

“Shortcomings this clearly indicates a widespread lack of resources to meet a deadline which is both legal and essential.

“What’s the point in having a deadline if local authorities have scant regard for it, or are entirely unable to meet it? This is an issue that needs addressing now.”

Cllr Grace Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We have completed 120 plans of the 168 needed, though we accept the majority were not finished before the end of March which is not good enough for our children and young people. 

"There are 27 still to be completed and we have recruited extra staff to get this done, setting a firm deadline of 31 August for them all to be completed to the high standard our residents rightly expect. 

"The remaining 21 were no longer required due to families moving out of borough or having a change of circumstance.

“We are committed to ensuring that going forward, all EHC plans are completed to deadline and that we provide the best possible service for our children, young people and their families. 

"We remain in contact with the families awaiting their plans so they know when to expect them.”