DfE plans widespread value review of EHC plans

2020-07-29

The government has unveiled plans for a widespread review of education, health and care plans for children with special educational needs and disabilities.


In response to the SEND inquiry by the education select committee, the Department for Education recognised that there is room for improvement in the system.


The review will look into value-for-money provided by the current provision for children with special educational needs after the inquiry raised concerns over how the 2014 SEND reforms have been implemented.


Recognising value in England’s SEND provision

It was also suggested in the SEND inquiry that the government had made financing support for children with SEND very difficult for councils, although this was rejected.


Instead, the government has said it is working across departments to “understand the total costs” to use a “joined-up approach to considering questions of value for money and sustainability”.


By looking at the outcomes achieved from current EHC plans, it is hoped it will be possible to get a clear idea of the costs associated with different types of school and support settings.


According to the Department for Education, the initial analysis that is required for the survey is underway and will be published as soon as possible.


Reducing confusion with the system

How EHC plans are awarded is also due for consideration, with the department looking to clarify the process and to simplify it if possible – part of the SEND review unveiled in September 2019.


Robert Halfon, chair of the education committee, said that while it is pleasing that the government has recognised the system requires improvement, many families are still facing confusion.


He added that many are still waiting to learn how they will get the support they need while he intends to discuss matters further with education secretary Gavin Williamson this autumn.


Mr Halfon, MP for Harlow, said additional work will be required to address the challenges faced by young people with SEND in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


The Department for Education has said it wants to ensure that all pupils get “the support they need to thrive”, with the SEND review “actively considering ways to deliver greater consistency in the quality and availability of provision to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND”.


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