Review of SEND launched
Rachel Dickinson, President of the ADCS, said:
“The 2014 reforms were ambitious, rightly raising expectations and extending support from birth up to 25 years, however, there is growing frustration and record levels of dissatisfaction despite record spending. We therefore welcome this review, which follows confirmation of an 11% uplift in funding to support learners with special educational needs and disabilities in 2020/21 earlier this week. £700 million is a lot of money but by itself it will not address the systemic challenges we now face in the delivery of our statutory duties, particularly in relation to 19 – 25 year olds requiring education, health and care plans. This older cohort is growing faster than many others and children’s services have not yet been funded to meet their needs.
“Local authorities, schools, health commissioners and providers have worked hard over the last five years to turn these reforms into a reality. Central government departments and agencies monitored our progress closely but have, at times, overlooked their own role in facilitating local efforts. Sufficient capital funding has not been made available for new special school places leading to a growing reliance on the costly independent sector and a national workforce strategy never materialised. As a result, we have shortages of education psychologists, special educational needs teachers, speech and language as well as occupational therapists. Health partners have been slow to adapt to the 0 – 25 agenda, particularly mental health services, resulting in widening inequalities in access across the country. It’s important that children, their families, professionals, practitioners and all relevant government departments take part in this process. It offers us an opportunity to work together to bring forward a plan of action to fully realise the ambitions that underpin the SEND reforms and provide the support children and young people truly deserve.”
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