Angry Devon parents have demanded more support for the county’s most vulnerable children, setting out a list of failings and criticisms of the way Devon County Council works with local families.

“We are pushed into corners we don’t want to be in, and we will come out fighting,” one parent told members of the council’s children’s scrutiny committee.

One after another, parents told councillors how they felt services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) were inadequate.

Holly Greenberry-Pullen said: “So many children are silently swept under the carpet.”

Fiona Salter told councillors: “I want you to understand the impact Devon SEND services are having on some of the most vulnerable young people in our county.

“Securing a suitable secondary school placement for my adopted daughter was a horrendous process.

“Short-sighted and inappropriate decisions are being made frequently for children who deserve better and deserve to be protected by this authority and not re-traumatised.”

The county’s SEND services have been under close scrutiny since a damning Ofsted report three years ago.

Exeter’s Labour MP Ben Bradshaw called for the resignation of the council’s cabinet member for children’s services and schools, Andrew Leadbetter (Con, Wearside and Topsham), but he said he would not shirk his responsibilities or abandon the task.

The council accepts there have been ‘significant problems’ across the system and the experience of many parents has not been good.

It says it will require a new vision and strategy to tackle the issues, and plans to look not only at the areas of weakness identified in reports from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, but also at the whole experience for SEND families.

Cabinet member for SEND Cllr Lois Samuel (Con, Okehampton Rural) said “tinkering around the edges” would not deliver the improvements needed.

And, she added: “There is no point having a vision where one partner is doing one thing while another is doing another. It is crucial that we work with partners.”

And Kellie Knott, the council’s SEND improvement director, added: “There is a requirement for system-wide change.”