September 2019

The government has today announced a major review into support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), five years on from the introduction of the Children and Families Act 2014.   

Whilst we welcome this review as a potential opportunity to address the current SEND crisis, we would oppose further legislative reform and any proposals that would impact negatively on the rights of children and young people with SEND and their families. The issues with the legislation arise from the fragmented and often inaccurate application of the law by local authorities, compounded by a severe shortage of funding and joined-up working across education, health and social care. This is reflected in the unprecedented number of appeals to the SEND Tribunal, the repeated criticisms of local authorities from Ofsted and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, and the increasing number of Local Area SEND Inspections resulting in written statements of action and failed revisits. 

We remain strongly of the view that the reforms in 2014 were the correct ones, and hope that this review will result in an improved system of SEN support, a better understanding of the legal framework amongst local authorities, schools and SEN professionals, and improved accountability measures when the law is not complied with.

Read the full government announcement here.