The Special Educational Needs (SEND) review green paper: right support, right place, right time

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The Government has completed its review of education in England and has published a green paper proposing changes to the SEND and alternative provision (AP) system in England. It is hoped the changes will better support children and young people (CYP) to ‘fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy and productive adult lives’.

What are the key findings?

The review has identified that:

  • Navigating the SEND system and AP is not a positive experience for many CYP and their families
  • AP is increasingly being used to supplement the SEND system
  • Outcomes for CYP in SEND or AP are consistently worse than their peers across every measure
  • There is ‘a vicious cycle of late intervention, low confidence and inefficient resource allocation’, with inconsistent support and decisions ‘too often’ based on factors other than the CYP’s needs
  • The current system is not financially sustainable

Many early years and mainstream schools are ‘often ill-equipped’ to identify and support CYP, and this is compounded by inconsistent practice. As a result, EHCPs and/or specialist provision are increasingly seen as the only means to guarantee appropriate support and some CYP face long journeys to a suitable placement, taking them away from their local community.

What are the key proposals?

  • Establishing new local SEND partnerships (bringing together education, health and care partners with local government and others), to produce local inclusion plans for CYP with SEND
  • Making AP an integral part of local SEND systems, focused on early intervention
  • Improving mainstream provision to offer consistent, high quality teaching with timely access to specialist services and support
  • A standardised EHCP process and template
  • A new national framework of banding and price tariffs for funding, matched to levels of need and types of education provision
  • Providing a tailored list of settings to help parents and carers to express an informed preference for a suitable placement
  • New places and improvements to existing provision for SEND, including new special and AP free schools
  • Mandatory mediation to resolve disputes, retaining the Tribunal for ‘the most challenging cases’
  • Funding more than 10,000 additional respite placements
  • Investing in the supported internships programme
  • Improving transition at further education to ensure young people with SEND are prepared for employment and higher education

We will be examining the proposals in depth over the next few weeks.

What happens next?

The Government is inviting comments from children and young people, parents and carers, those who advocate and work with the SEND sector, and local and national system leaders. The consultation closes on 1 July 2022.

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