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ADCS response: SEND and alternative provision green paper

Charlotte Ramsden, ADCS President, said:

“We welcome the long-awaited publication of the SEND review and the accompanying green paper. The paper’s emphasis on meeting the needs of children in mainstream education settings, with targeted support where needed, and where this isn’t possible in high quality specialist provision is welcome. Bringing greater consistency in how children’s needs are assessed and met by the SEND system will be helpful and we are pleased the government is committed to creating a new SEND and alternative provision system where every child and young person can access the right support, at the right time and in the right place. We are keen to work with government and others including parents, health partners and schools on the new national SEND standards as they develop and see a shift towards a more inclusive education system which ADCS has long called for.

“The paper rightly acknowledges that the current SEND system is not working for many children. The 2014 reforms were ambitious, rightly raising expectations and extending support up to 25 years, but they have not delivered the intended outcomes. Despite record levels of spending there is growing frustration and dissatisfaction with how the reforms are working on the ground. The support and services children with additional needs receive has a huge impact on them and their families, all stakeholders must work together, in partnership with parents, so that collectively we are better able to meet the needs of children and young people now and help prepare them for an independent adult life in the future. So, supporting a successful transition to adulthood must be a key feature of the new national standards.

“Many aspects of the green paper are to be welcomed including those focussing on strengthening collaboration and accountability across all partners in the system and clarifying their roles and responsibilities, creating a less adversarial, more child centred system based on children’s needs and inclusion. Improving the experiences and outcomes of children and young people with SEND is a joint endeavour and so we welcome the strengthened role and commitments of health partners as outlined.

“We are pleased the green paper acknowledges the need to create a financially sustainable system which provides value for children in terms of their outcomes and experiences, and for the taxpayer. The additional funding being made available to support the proposals is welcome, but with high needs budget deficits rising, threatening the financial sustainability of some local authorities there is still not enough money in the current system to meet the level of need being seen. We recognise that reforms won’t happen overnight, but the current system has a high level of cost baked into it for the foreseeable future which is placing unsustainable pressure on local authorities.

“It will take time to work through the detail of the proposals outlined in the green paper, and to consider the implications for local authorities and, most importantly, for children and young people. The Association will be responding to the consultation in due course once we have gathered the views of our members and will work constructively with partners to implement these necessary changes.”


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