Shake-up of SEN system on the agenda

19th March 2011

  • In a Green Paper published on 9th March 2011, the government set out its proposals for reforming the education system for children with special educational needs (SEN).

    These proposals include:

    1. Replacing Statements with “Education, Health and Care plans” by 2014. These plans would be determined through a single assessment process, and would cover the age range from birth to 25. They would have the same legal status as statements of SEN. Parents would still be able to appeal to tribunal, but may be required to take part in mediation first.

    2. Introducing greater indepence to the assessment of children’s needs by getting voluntary groups to “coordinate” the assessment process.

    3. Offering families with children with a statement or a new “Education, Health and Care Plan” the right to a personal budget. This would give families greater control over how the funding for their child is spent.

    4. Giving parents more choice over school placements by allowing them to “express a preference” for any state-funded school, including mainstream, special, academies and free Schools. This preference would have to be met – unless it would not meet the needs of the child, be incompatible with the efficient education of other children, or be an inefficient use of resources.

    5. Requiring local authorities to provide clear information about all services available in their locality.

    6. Improving teacher training and continuing professional development.

    The consultation on the proposals will run until 30 June 2011. To read the full consultation document and respond online, please click here. You can also email to request the consultation document in alternative formats.

    At this early stage in the legislative process, your input really does count! The question is, however, how many parents will have the time to plow through a 136-page document and answer 59 questions?

    The Parent Carer Forum will submit a response to the paper. You can contribute to this by attending a meeting of our Education subgroup (see Calendar section of this website for meeting dates), or by telling us your thoughts via email, post or telephone (see “Contact” section). We would be happy to send you a draft of our response, so you can comment on it.