Today (6 September) the UK Government has announced a new review to improve the quality of support for children with special educational needs.
Five years on from initial reforms introduced to improve guidance provided to children and young people with additional needs, the new review is expected to further improve services available to families.
It is hoped the review will also better equip staff in schools and colleges to respond effectively to a child’s needs, eliminating the current ‘postcode lottery’ effect faced by many across the UK.
Of the announcement, Jolanta Lasota, chief executive of Ambitious About Autism, commented: “We supported the reforms of 2014 which were designed to provide more children with tailored support to ensure their special educational needs were met.
“However, we know the system is beset with problems, with many parents facing lengthy battles – and sometimes costly tribunals – to get their children they support they need to thrive at school.
“It’s important to assess whether the system is currently working in the best interests of SEND children and their families.
“We welcome this review and we hope it will result in smoother, joined up working between education, health and care services and enable parents to work more collaboratively with local decision-makers to ensure children have the best support.”
Alongside the announcement is the partnered news that the government will provide a major funding boost of £700million in 2020/21 for pupils living with complex needs.
The funding and review comes off the back of the Prime Minister’s pledge to ensure every student can access the education that is right for them.
Education is a basic human right, and the announcements are a positive step in the right direction.
Since 2014, the Education Health and Care plans have seen more than 350,000 children and young people (across the ages of 0 to 25 years) with complex needs receiving the tailored support they require.
Through the review the government will put forward new actions on:
- Evidence on how the system can provide the highest quality of care to ensure SEND students thrive.
- Improved support to assist parents in what support will be best for their child.
- Ensuring consistent support across local authorities.
- Understanding what is behind the rise in education, health and care (EHC) plans and the role of specific health conditions driving demand.
Additional steps are also in place to compliment the move for improved care.
Minister for Care Caroine Dinenage said: “The support and care for people with special educational needs and disabilities is one of my top priorities.
“The SEND review will be crucial in widening our knowledge of the parts of the system which are working well and the areas which need improvement.”