DfE launches consultation on the SEND and alternative provision system in England

Blog | Education
Published: 6th May 2022
Area: Corporate & Commercial

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On 29 March 2022, the DfE launched a consultation regarding the future of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision system in England.  

While many changes to the SEND system were introduced in 2014, there is still evidence that families and children feel unsupported and many children with SEND have continued to fall behind compared to their peers. The pandemic has disproportionately affected these children even further, which has exacerbated pre-existing problems within the SEND system.  

The SEND review was commissioned to allow the Government to better understand the challenges faced and to consider what changes to the existing system are necessary to establish a system that properly supports SEND children. A green paper has now been published which sets out the Government’s proposals. The key change is to establish a single national SEND and Alternative Provision system, which is not dictated by postcode, with clear standards for what children should expect to receive and the processes for accessing this support. The green paper can be accessed here. 

The consultation is seeking feedback on the following key areas: 

  • The key factors to be taken into account when developing national standard for delivery of outcomes to SEND children and families, and what key metrics should be used to measure local and national performance

  • How the proposed local SEND partnerships should work in practice and what should be their scope to avoid duplication or unnecessary burden while ensuring fairness and consistency in offering. Also, how can the proposed SEND Delivery Board work best with these local partnerships to ensure proposals are delivered effectively

  • How the existing EHCP could be improved and amended ahead of moving to a digitised and standardised system

  • The proposal to provide parents with more transparency and a list of tailored and available provisions for their children, and how this could best work in practice

  • The proposal to strengthen redress by introducing clearer standards for how complaints regarding SEND processes and provision can be addressed and who is responsible for resolving concerns. The consultation also seeks feedback on the remedies currently available through the SEND tribunal system

  • Proposal to introduce more specialised SENCOs in early years settings

  • What further work can be done to ensure young people with SEND can participate and access apprenticeships and similar training

  • How the proposed structured vision for alternative provision will result in improved outcomes and quality of provision

  • How funding bands should be developed nationally to achieve objectives

  • What are considered to be the biggest barriers and enablers to the success of the proposed reforms?

We would encourage schools and colleges to submit their views to the consultation to ensure that the proposed reforms adequately address the issues faced by those on the front line.  

The consultation closes on 1 July 2022 and can be accessed here.

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Emma is a Solicitor within the firm’s Education team specialising in employment advice for education clients including independent schools and academies, as well as both further and higher education institutes

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