From education to employment

MPs to examine Govt’s new SEND Improvement Plan


Evidence Session         

  • Special education needs and disabilities (SEND)
  • Tuesday 28 March at 10:00, Committee Room 15          
  • Watch live on

The Education Committee will question experts on the Government’s recently published Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan.

There have long been calls to reform the system of SEND services and alternative provision amid a backdrop of increases over recent years in the number of children needing SEND support. The rate of parents succeeding in appeal cases, where local authorities and schools have declined to provide SEND support to a child, also hit 96% in 2020/21.

The Improvement Plan comes one year after the Department for Education launched its SEND Review and a public consultation on several proposals. It includes:

  • Introducing national statutory SEND standards
  • Establishing new local SEND partnerships, involving education, health and care partners with local government and other organisations
  • A new standardised digital process for Education Health and Care Plans
  • Introducing a streamlined process for redress, including mandatory mediation
  • A new National Professional Qualification (NPQ) for schools’ special education needs coordinators

The cross-party Committee will question witnesses on whether the proposals are likely to end the “post code lottery” by improving consistency across the country and meet the Government’s stated aim of fewer children needing Education Health and Care Plans. MPs will also ask about measures to improve accountability to Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, and redress for when families are wrongly denied support.

The Government has also promised £70m to carry out new reforms, about £50 per pupil, along with £2.6 billion of extra funding, over three years, promised in the 2022 autumn statement to improve provision and fund new places. Witnesses will be asked to comment on whether this funding will be adequate to bring about the level of change that the sector has been calling for.

There are also widespread concerns that the process of applying for SEND support from schools and local authorities can be difficult to understand, “adversarial” and is easier to navigate for parents who are better off. There will be questions about the Department’s proposals for mandatory mediation to reduce the number of appeals and tribunal hearings.

There are also concerns about the length of time these reforms will take time to implement – by 2025 according to the Department – as well as accusations that drafting and consulting on these reforms has already been too slow.

Witnesses from 10:00     

  • Mike Hobday, Executive Director, Policy and Campaigns, National Deaf Children’s Society
  • Dr Nicola Crossley, SEND representative for the Association of School and College Leaders and CEO of Liberty Trust
  • Tim Nicholls, Head of Influencing and Research, National Autistic Society
  • Daniel Stavrou, Policy Vice Chair of the Special Education Consortium and Assistant Director for Education, Council for Disabled Children

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