Charities say changes to special needs education are being made too fast

  • Charities say that special needs education (SEN) in England are being implemented too quickly.

    As of September special needs statements will be replaced by "education, health and care statements" which hopes to give more holistic support, reports the BBC.

    The government said the system would allow change to "take place gradually". Girl Drawing Back To School

    Mark Lever of the National Autistic Society said details of "the biggest reform of the SEN system in 30 years" had not yet been finalised. He told BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast that the changes could be undermined by the government's failure to provide a joined-up system of appeal. "Too many families of children with autism will continue to battle for support on multiple fronts," he said.

    Dan Scorer, Mencap's head of policy and public affairs said: "The finer details of the changes are yet to be published which means that professionals who work with children and young people with SEN have just a few months' notice of their new obligations before they are expected to meet them. This is a matter of urgency as the reforms are due to be implemented from September this year. Families of people with a learning disability have waited many years for the serious failings in the current SEN system to be addressed and, unless local authorities, schools and colleges are fully prepared, the impact of these important changes could be seriously undermined."

    The changes have been set out in the Children and Families Act, which became law last month. The definitive version of this new special needs code of practice is set to be published in the summer.

    The government has said the intention of the changes is to give young people with SEN and their parents "greater control and choice over the services they receive so their needs are properly met".

    The new system will see health and care needs be put alongside educational ones, with an individual worker and single budget for each family. The single system will offer education support up to the age of 25.

    The charities welcome the new system as it has the potential to improve support to children and young people and enable them to achieve their full potential, however they warn the real test for the reforms will be how well they are implemented at a local level.

    "Success will depend on local authorities, health bodies and their partners changing their practices to put families at the heart of the system", said Mr Scorer.

    A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "We have put in place significant support for local areas to prepare for the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms. This includes a £70m grant for local authorities, and £30m to recruit and train 1,800 champions to support parents as the new reforms are implemented. We have also increased funding for Parent Carer Forums from £10,000 to £15,000. We know the majority of local authorities are confident they will be ready to make the new system available to new entrants from 1 September and the changes will take place gradually, allowing the new arrangements to develop locally."

    What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions

    Image source:

Related articles

  • Read More

    Young people with learning disabilities more likely to be abused

    A group of children’s charities have said that young people with disabilities have the “same vulnerabilities” as all young people but face extra “barriers” to getting protection or support,...

  • Read More

    Success for a disability sport programme

    The programme ran for three weeks and included multi-sport camps at Aberdeen Sports Village, reports the Mearns Leader. Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee...

  • Read More

    Hartlepool to open a disability centre

    Work has begun on the Hartlepool Borough Council project which aims to provide the Centre for Independent Living on the site of the current Havelock Centre in Burbank, reports The Hartlepool Mail.It...

  • Read More

    Reform for care of adults with learning disabilities criticised for being slow

    Following the care home abuse scandal at Winterbourne, Sir Stephen Bubb headed a review into care home abuse, which was published in November, reports the BBC.England's chief nursing officer said...

  • Read More

    Campaigners warn that people with disabilities are losing rights due to government cuts

    Charities are concerned that the rights of people with learning disabilities to live independent lives are slipping due to government cuts to benefits and social care, reports the Guardian. A letter...

  • Read More

    Concern over disability benefits following council change

    On the 30th of June a £500m Independent Living Fund will be in the control of local authorities, leaving people fearing how the benefit allowance for disabled adults will be affected, reports the...

  • Read More

    Victims of disability hate crime are being let down

    Police, prosecutors and probations services have failed to bring in need change over the past two years, a report by the Criminal Justice Inspectorate has found, reports the BBC.The CPS, police and...

  • Read More

    New initiative to support young people with disabilities

    Liberty Staffordshire Community Interest Company have been developed to maximise opportunities for young people due to growing concern they could be left isolated following the withdrawal of...

  • Read More

    How technology is helping people with disabilities

    At the exhibit people presented all-terrain wheelchairs, adapted smartphone for people whose fingers can't cope with normal devices, wheelchairs that allow the user to become level with the people...

  • Read More

    Charities call for action on accessible housing

    Leonard Cheshire Disability charity has told The Yorkshire Post that the lack of housing which is accessible for people with disabilities must become and election issue and is calling for the...

Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "Sincere thanks to Michael Patterson for an excellent presentation on the HB Reform issues in Leeds last week, and for all the very helpful info and links. I do intend to respond on behalf of our organisation, Caring For Life, but feel that Support Solutions' response is excellent." E.S. - Caring for Life


Briefing Signup