SEND review to assess school support services


The Department for Education is assessing the support services on offer for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), amid concerns that some geographic areas receive greater support than others.

The review will focus on what the department dubs a ‘postcode lottery’ of support and is designed to enhance the levels of support available to pupils and parents.

Not only should the move increase capacity across England, but it should also help to ensure that pupils and schools get better value for money from services.

Around £700 million of the latest round of school funding, announced by the government in late August, is earmarked for children with special education needs.

Reforms to the system in 2014 aimed to provide “simpler, improved and consistent help” for pupils, but the Department for Education has decided more work is needed.

As the level of pupils with SEND continues to rise – figures have increased for three consecutive years – the review will investigate health care in SEND, with support from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Support for children with SEND

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged to ensure that all children with special education needs (SEN) receive the support they require.

He said the system needs to be assessed to deliver excellent facilities in the long term and to give children and parents the support they expect.

Part of the review will look at the factors behind a rise in education, health and care (EHC) plans in recent years and to look at how support can be more consistent from place to place.

The Local Government Association has also called for greater inclusion, with its chairman James Jamieson saying he wants to see “more children with high needs…appropriately supported in mainstream schools”.

Since broadening the eligibility criteria for SEND support in the 2014 reforms, the number of pupils with EHC plans has surged by nearly 50%.

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