SEND review won’t be out until 2021, says Williamson

A landmark review into provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities won’t be published until next year, Gavin Williamson has said.

The education secretary admitted in April that work on the review has stalled because of the coronavirus outbreak, and confirmed today that the report will now not be published until “the early part of next year”.

Ministers commissioned the review last September, amid mounting concerns about the “postcode lottery” of support available across England.

It is supposed to look at how the system has evolved since reforms in 2014 that brought in new education, health and care plans, and explore the role of health care in SEND in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Speaking to the Parliamentary education committee this morning, Williamson said the review would be “reporting later than I would have liked to have seen it”.

Earlier this year the Parliamentary public accounts committee said the review must result in “concrete action” to address “significant failings”.

An inquiry by the committee found that the education, wellbeing and life-chances of pupils with SEND were being damaged by the government’s failure to give them the support they need.

The committee said the Department for Education had given “few details” about its ongoing SEND review, and warned that it must not just go over old ground.

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  1. This delay is not acceptable; it preserves a broken, unfair system. There won’t be any changes to the High Needs Block of Dedicated Schools Grant until 2022/23. Meanwhile, deficits continue to grow both in local authorities and schools, as they try to provide statutory services and support for pupils with SEND against a backdrop of inadequate funding allocations and significant disincentives to be inclusive.
    Of equal concern is the lack of transparency on how the review is being conducted. There’s a steering group which doesn’t publish minutes, and little evidence of any consultation beyond a mention of talking to stakeholders. Who are they? I blogged about it this week: