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The SEND and AP Improvement Plan – Base Camp of Transformational Change


  • CEO, Trudi Beswick responds to DfE Improvement Plan
  • New plans announced on 2nd March 2023
  • Marks the beginning of 2-3 testing phase in selected local authorities

Although long overdue and still only the ‘base camp’ of real transformational change, I welcome today’s publication of the Department for Education SEND and AP Improvement Plan.

If nothing else, the overwhelming public response to the Government’s Green Paper in 2022 has served to highlight the true scale and complexity of need within our education and health care system for children with disabilities; and the systemic inability to meet those needs with the existing resources and systems.

Recognising and accepting the problem is the first step to solving it.

The release today outlines plans for improvements in skills, systems and spaces with plans to train new educational psychologists and SENCO’s, digitising and standardising the EHCP and building 33 new schools.

But does it go far enough?

To put the announcement in to some context here are some basic comparisons:

  • Plan is for selected local authorities, not everywhere (yet)
  • Training for up to 5,000 Early Years SENCO’s – There are 20,806 state primary schools
  • Training 400 educational psychologists – In 2021/22 there were 1,485,409 children in England with special educational needs

Today’s announcement is part of a 2-3 year testing period, during which the selected local authorities will receive the extra resource needed to implement the plans but the figures highlighted above demonstrate that the nationwide roll out of the plans, if proved to work, will need huge additional investment from the Government in the future.

As active members of the Council for Disabled Children, Caudwell Children have followed the progress of the SEND reforms carefully and recognise the complexities in delivering transformational change. We now hope to continue to engage with Government to assist in the practical application of the reforms.

  • Plans for new schools should use new inclusive design guidelines, demonstrated in Caudwell International Children’s Centre
  • Training of new psychologists should support overstretched assessment services
  • Digitisation of systems should also serve charities supporting schools.

Our vision is a world where disabled and autistic children have the choice, opportunity, dignity and understanding they deserve.

We will continue to collaborate with Government and others to action the change we want to see.

#caudwellchildren #jointhechange #SEND