Damian Hinds responds to Dame Christine Lenehan's report into residential special schools
In November 2017, the report 'Good Intentions, Good Enough?' was published; it presented a detailed picture of the residential special schools sector along with recommendations. Damian Hinds' response to this report has now been published.
This response emphasises that SEND is a significant concern for the government, both in the light of this report but also due to the increase in numbers of children and young people with SEND being educated in special schools and settings, and the high numbers of pupils with SEND being excluded from school. The minister discusses some of the challenges within the current system, including joint working between education, health and social care and the pressures on high needs budgets.
Of particular interest to schools will be the emphasis on helping mainstream schools to develop their responses to pupils with SEND (such as through the Whole School SEND consortium), including approaching Ofsted: "I will ask Ofsted to consider how our accountability system can sufficiently reward schools for their (often excellent) work with pupils who need extra support, and to encourage schools to focus on all pupils, not just the highest achievers."
A Leadership Board for children and young people with high needs will be established, as recommended in the report, and the sector will be widely consulted about this.
This response restates the minister's ambition to improve outcomes and experiences for children and young people with SEND and is to be welcomed; we now need to see these postive words translated into actions and we look forward to this.
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