Damian Hinds speech has positive implications for SEND

Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, made a speech to the Association of Directors of Children's Services in Manchester on 5th July in which he gave some messages about SEND which suggest that he has been listening to the sector.

The Secretary of State talked about the challenges of social work, disadvantaged children, Children in Need, safeguarding and children and young people with SEND. His key points included:

  • "While we had record investment in education for children with complex SEND at £6 billion this year - it's clear that budgets are under pressure. And, frankly, this is difficult - I can't say today that I have all the answers. But I am listening to your concerns;"
  • "We know there has been a steady movement of children with special educational needs out of mainstream schools and into specialist provision, alternative provision and home education. At the same time, rates of exclusion have begun to rise after a period of having calmed down. And I hear too many stories about off-rolling. I want to be clear right now: this is not okay. SEND pupils are not someone else's problem. Every school is a school for pupils with SEND; and every teacher is a teacher of SEND pupils;"
  • "I am working with Ofsted to make sure our accountability system sufficiently rewards schools for their work with pupils who need extra support, and to encourage schools to focus on all pupils, not just the highest achievers;"
  • "I want to look at how my department, working with the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England, can support local authorities and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to more effectively plan and commission SEND provision;"
  • "In addition, I will be asking Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to design a programme of further local area SEND inspections to follow the current round, due to conclude in 2021; and for their advice on further inspection or monitoring of those areas required to produce a 'Written Statement of Action'."

Read the full speech.

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