SEND Green Paper – Our Response
The Department for Education has today published the first stage of a consultation designed to improve support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The Government’s SEND and alternative provision green paper, published on Tuesday 29 March, sets out its vision for a single, national SEND and alternative provision (AP) system that will introduce new standards in the quality of support given to children across education, health and care.
Today’s publication is the long-awaited result of a review which began in September 2019. It also marks the beginning of a 13-week public consultation, giving families the opportunity to shape how a new system will work in the future.
A summary of some of the key proposals in the SEND and alternative provision green paper include:
- Setting new national standards across education, health and care;
- A simplified Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP);
- 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;
- Improving oversight and transparency through the publication of 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, including through earlier intervention and improved targeted support;
- 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 (AP), with a new delivery model in every local area focused on early intervention;
- New funding to implement changes, worth £70 million including over £10 million to train over 200 more educational psychologists.
Caudwell Children’s Chief Executive, Trudi Beswick, has responded to the proposed reforms by calling for more urgency and greater focus on supporting assessments.
The SEND system affects every single child and family that Caudwell Children support, and for too long we have been hearing how navigating the system is the single biggest area of frustration and concern after their child’s immediate health needs.
We welcome that the Government have recognised this and have at last proposed some long-overdue reforms to a system which is in crisis.
Caudwell Children believes resolutely on the benefits of early intervention and inclusion as the best ways to remove some of the barriers that children living with SEND routinely face, preventing them from fulfilling their potential and eventually making the successful transition into adulthood, employment and independence.
I particularly welcome the proposed increased support for school SENCos and teaching staff who too frequently are left to pick up the pieces of children who are awaiting formal assessment and diagnosis due to the unacceptable waiting times for appointments through local Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs) around the country.
Only yesterday we heard from one UK local authority autism service with 2000 children currently awaiting an assessment.
Charities like Caudwell Children play an important role within the wider support network for children with SEND, it is imperative that improved integration and coordination between all partners is incorporated into the reforms to ensure that children and families are able to access the appropriate services quickly and easily.
In summary, it is a relief to know that the Government are committed to improving the experiences of millions of families by delivering change to a broken SEND system, but we would urge Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid to personally ensure that there are no further delays following the consultation period.
Families have waited too long, suffered for too long; now is the time for change to prevent another generation of children from losing the choice, opportunity, dignity and understanding that they deserve.
Chief Medical Officer at Caudwell Children, Viki Williams:
As a clinician responsible for ensuring that every child accessing our children and family services here at Caudwell Children receives the very best care possible, I absolutely welcome that the SEND reforms proposal has finally been published.
Greater equity within the education, health and social care system is desperately needed to prevent more children and families from losing vital childhood years fighting to access the help and support they need.
Children absolutely deserve equal and rapid access to fast, effective health services and this paper recognises these priorities and the need for increased funding and in particular for those families caring for a child with disabilities.
This is vital in changing the quality of life for families that otherwise would not have access to equipment that transforms their lives.
The investment in special educational needs services and educational psychologists is really encouraging, though we at Caudwell Children would like to see increase funding and collaboration with existing specialist charities such as ours in helping to bridge the gap between public sector services so that children are able to access the right service, with the right skills, at the right time.
This green paper paints a positive picture for the future, but everyone within the SEND community, including most importantly the children and families, cannot wait another three years to see the changes they need.
Children, young people, parents, carers and those who advocate and work with them who are affected by the proposed reforms are encouraged to respond to the consultation by completing an online survey: SEND Review: Right support, right place, right time – Department for Education – Citizen Space.