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A “deep-set culture of political adversarialism” is hampering improvements in SEND services in Birmingham, the first government-imposed commissioner has warned.

John Coughlan also flagged “unhelpful and even illegal practices around exclusions and part-time provision” in the city.

In the first intervention of its kind, ministers sent Coughlan to take over SEND services in 2021. The council had failed to remedy “significant weaknesses”.

In his second report, published on Thursday, Coughlan found there had been “measurable progress” in some areas. But Birmingham is still missing its legal deadlines for a third of education, health and care plans and almost half of annual reviews.

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