A review into Sutton's "inadequate" services for children with special educational needs states “good progress has been made”.

Early findings by independent expert Sharon Scott, who was recruited last month after Ofsted branded SEND services "failing" and "not fit for purpose", says "significant progress has been made in putting building blocks in place.”

But concerns have been raised over the scope of her review, after Mrs Scott refused to meet privately with a central campaign group representing parents of children affected.

Councillor Marian James, Chair of People Committee, said: “I’m pleased to see an independent review confirms we are continuing to improve.

"Our progress is also recognised by the Government and NHS England. I want to thank Sharon for her positive, and constructive feedback on the steps we are taking, and look forward to receiving her full report.

“These reports, and the others we have published today demonstrate the pace and breadth of the improvements we are making.

"I have always spoken of our commitment to ensure every child in Sutton achieves their potential.

"We are ambitious for Sutton’s children.”

Campaigners claim that more than 700 children have been denied educational health plans (ECHP) which legally outline the extra needs a child has. 

Sutton EHCP Crisis Group, set up by parents who claim their children are suffering, organised a petition calling for full independent reviews of the EHCP process and for all cases rejected between November 2017 - March 2019 to be reviewed, which was signed by hundreds of people.

The independent review is only looking at Cognus, the largely Council owned an external company which runs all school support services.

The group asked to meet collectively with Mrs Scott but were told she would only be willing to meet with the members individually.

A spokesperson for the group said: "We’re better placed to represent parents' views than any other group.

"We talk to parents of children with special needs on a daily basis so understand these concerns.

"We would want to make sure Mrs Scott is up to speed on the law, what her remit is and how she is approaching the review.

"We would also like to give her all the examples, and there are a lot.

"We have kids going to schools today that are wrong for them. This is about vulnerable children being protected, and this seems not to be the review's priority.

"The review isn't looking into the refusals. It's essentially a publicity stunt. If it were otherwise Mrs Scott would meet with us."

Sharon Scott said: "I offered to meet with the parents individually.

"Two open meetings for parents and carers were held on the 10 September at which a range of parents attended including some from this group."