SEND Review

SEND Green Paper - have you responded?

Earlier this year, the government published details of its long-awaited SEND Review.   The green paper, delayed because of Covid-19, sets out the Government’s vision for a single, national system for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP).

The aim is to introduce new standards in the quality of support given to children across education, health and care. The Department for Education (DfE) wants to end the postcode lottery that leaves too many with worse outcomes than their peers.

What is the SEND Review?

The SEND Review was commissioned to improve an inconsistent, process-heavy and increasingly adversarial system that too often leaves parents facing difficulties and delays accessing the right support for their child.

Its goal is to create a system that offers children and young people the opportunity to thrive, with access to the right support, in the right place, and at the right time.

Published on 29 March 2022, it launched a public consultation, which closes on 22 July 2022, and is giving families and people involved in the sector the chance to shape how a new system will work in the future.

Here’s a reminder of the plans?

The proposed reforms include:

  • Setting new national standards across education, health and care for a higher-performing SEND system;
  • A digital Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process that is easy to use, consistent and cuts down on bureaucracy;
  • A new legal requirement for councils to introduce ‘local inclusion plans’ that bring together early years, schools, and post-16 education with health and care services;
  • New ‘local inclusion dashboards’ to make roles and responsibilities of all partners within the system clearer for parents and young people;
  • Changing the culture and practice in mainstream education to be more inclusive and better at identifying and supporting needs;
  • Improving workforce training through the introduction of a new SENCo NPQ for school SENCos, and increasing the number of staff with an accredited level 3 qualification in early years settings;
  • A reformed and integrated role for alternative provision, with a new delivery model in every local area, focused on early intervention.

What will the proposals cost?

The Government says it will use new funding to overhaul the SEND system. This will build on its investment in local authority high-needs budgets next year and for new places for children with SEND over the next three years.

The Government will unveil a national SEND delivery plan later this year after the consultation has ended.

The much-delayed review is welcome, but children and families don’t deserve to be kept waiting for their many challenges to be overcome.

The wait for an EHCP is too long. Over the last week, I’ve been working in five different schools, in different parts of the country, which are all experiencing challenges with applications for EHCP to give children the support they need. And, in one school, I heard access to educational and speech and language therapists had been put on hold because of demand.

These issues have been around for a long time. Back in 2010, I was involved in the Marmot Review into health inequalities. Its first objective was to give every child the best start in life, but, sadly, our current system doesn’t offer the support needed to make this a reality.

School governors and the SEND Review

As school governors, we support and challenge our schools to do the best for all children. Governing boards should have oversight of arrangements for SEND, which is set out in the SEND code of practice (which will be refreshed later this year).  Boards usually do this through a link role, enabling a deeper understanding of the SEND system, and monitoring how the school applies it.

Take part in the consultation

There are just two months left to have your say on the plans. A wide range of people are being invited to respond, including:

  • Parents and carers
  • Children and young people
  • People working in the SEND and alternative provision system

You have until 22 July 2022 to respond to the public consultation.

Need support for your governing board?

As a school governance professional, I help governing boards be the best they can be for the children, the staff, and the school. I have particular expertise in supporting special schools and alternative provision.

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Posted in Shaping Governance.