Queen's speech - nasen response
Nasen welcomes the announcement that proposals outlined in the Green Paper will be moved forward during this session of parliament. The government will begin to frame their reformed SEN policy using the initial findings from the first year of the Pathfinders and these will include:
• a new single assessment process and ‘Education, Health and Care Plan’ by 2014 to replace the statutory SEN assessment and statement, bringing together the support on which children and their families rely across education, health and social care from birth to age 25. Services will work together with the family to agree a straightforward plan that reflects the family’s ambitions for their child from the early years to adulthood, which is reviewed regularly to reflect their changing needs, and is clear about who is responsible for provision.
• Giving parents more confidence by giving them more control over the support their family receives. This will involve introducing more transparency in the provision of services for children and young people who are disabled or who have SEN. Parents will have real choice over their child’s education and the opportunity for direct control over support for their family.
• Local authorities and other services will have to set out a local offer of all services available to support children who are disabled or who have SEN and their families. This easy-to-understand information for parents will set out what is normally available in schools to help children with lower-level SEN, as well as the options available to support families who need additional help to care for their child
• The option of a personal budget by 2014 will be available for all families with children with Education, Health and Care Plan, many of whom will have complex support needs.
• Giving parents more choice of the school, either a mainstream or special school that they would wish their child to attend, by improving the range and diversity of schools from which parents can choose, making sure they are aware of the options available to them and by changing statutory guidance for local authorities.
• Where local authorities and parents disagree, they will be opportunities for mediation first, to try and resolve problems in a less adversarial way than having to take their case to the Tribunal.
• The Department for Education, working with the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability), will pilot giving children the right to appeal and make disability discrimination claims. The pilot will test whether the right to appeal is something that children would use, the best way to handle these appeals, and the cost implications of this change.
Although we are still awaiting the full response to the Green Paper consultation it is evident that the Government are looking to move many of its proposal forward for implementation in 2014. This will require a new SEND Code of Practice that will hopefully support Early Years Providers, Schools and colleges in ensuring that they offer the best possible support for young people with special educational needs and disability.
Nasen is pleased that the support and education of our most vulnerable young people is part of the Queen’s Speech today and we look forward to working with the Government and the Department for Education in moving these policies forward.