SEND review

SEND review: Ministers take control to end ‘postcode lottery’

Green paper outlines vision of a 'single national SEND and alternative provision system'

Green paper outlines vision of a 'single national SEND and alternative provision system'



Ministers plan to bring large chunks of the SEND system under “central control” with new national standards that take power from local authorities.

The green paper outlines the government’s vision to establish a “single national SEND and alternative provision system” to end “too much local discretion”.

Under the proposals, the government would introduce national SEND standards, standardised education, health and care plans (EHCPs) and national funding bands.

Rather than councils setting “notional” special educational needs budgets for their schools, the Department for Education would instead use a “single, national formula”.

Jo Hutchinson, the director for vulnerable learners at the Education Policy Institute, said central control was the only way to tackle a “postcode lottery” of support.

“The DfE wants to be able to control this partly because of the implementation failure after the 2014 reforms. It’s hard for them to make change happen if they don’t take control of some central aspects of the system.”

New national standards aim to set out “how and when” a child should be identified as requiring SEN support, with the government to “steward and regulate” the system.

Ministers hope this will “improve consistency of identification, reducing the likelihood of misidentification driven by place, setting or other factors such as race or disadvantage”.

Standardised EHCP templates and processes also aim to cut out variations between areas that at present have discretion to create their own versions. One area’s standards run to 40 pages, another to eight.

SEND changes ‘should have come eight years ago’

Karen Wespieser, a special needs expert, said academy trusts have faced a “nightmare” navigating different councils’ EHCPs. The proposals would “really start to foster a system of data collection which has been missing”, she said.

SEND
Wespieser

Professor Brian Lamb, whose 2009 review triggered the 2014 SEND reforms, said it was “such a mistake” that these weren’t introduced eight years ago.

The DfE also wants a national system of banding and price tariffs matched to the levels of need and types of education provision set out in the new standards.

The government will decide who pays for support and how councils set funding levels, but it plans to consult on whether some “local flexibility” is required.

But Lamb warned that getting the banding system wrong could “undermine” progress on “personalisation”.

Meanwhile the DfE’s new “regions group” – the rebranded regional schools commissioners – will be responsible for holding councils and trusts to account on delivering for youngsters with SEND.



More from this theme

SEND review

‘Tragically ironic’: Accessible SEND review still missing SIX weeks on

Vulnerable groups the green paper aims to support are ‘excluded’

Freddie Whittaker
SEND review

SEND review: New course to give SENCOs seat at top table

DfE says existing qualification has 'variability' and might not provide 'knowledge and skills' needed

Samantha Booth
SEND review

SEND review: Tiered support package for alternative provision

Green paper proposes three-tier system focused on early intervention in mainstream schools

Freddie Whittaker
SEND review

SEND review: ‘Inclusive’ schools key to system shake-up

Green paper sets out ambition to improve a system it says is failing vulnerable children and their parents

Samantha Booth
SEND review

SEND review won’t repeat ‘mistakes of the past’ – Zahawi

Education secretary says system is failing and reform is 'long overdue'

Freddie Whittaker
SEND review

SEND review: The proposed reforms to alternative provision

Changes to the way AP is funded and used by schools have been put forward by the government

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.