Saturday, 12 March 2011

Green Paper on Special Educational Needs

Last week, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, introduced a Green Paper concerning future provision for disabled children and young people who have Special Educational Needs (SEN).

The aim of the Green Paper is "to address the aspirations of children with SEN and help them achieve, as far as possible, an independent and successful future, and to assist their families and teachers, plus their social and health care professionals in providing the best care and support they can".

A Government spokesperson said "For too long, families of most disabled children who are providing 24-hour care from birth, or the families of children struggling at school, do not know where to turn for help. Highly skilled professionals strive to understand the individual needs of every child with a disability or Special Educational Need, but too often the system lets these children down. Successive reports have described a system where parents feel they have to battle for the support they need, and where bureaucracy and frustration face them at every step".

“According to the Council for Disabled Children, on average, a disabled child experiences 32 assessments as they grow up. Resources that could be spent on support and teaching have been diverted into bureaucracy. Therefore, we are introducing a new single assessment and plan for a child’s support from 0 to 25 years to replace the statutory SEN assessment and statement of support. This new plan, to be called an “Education, Health and Care Plan”, would provide a single point of reference for children and families, making clear who is responsible for provision across education, health and social care at each stage.

“The Green Paper covers five areas: early identification and support, giving parents more control; learning and achieving; preparing for adulthood; and services working together for families. The children’s charity Barbardos has already welcomed the Green Paper and it is likely to win the support of more organisations. "

A pdf of the consultation is available from the website

Parents of children with SEN, disabled adults, teachers, carers or other experts in the field are invited to study the consultation and respond if they wish. They can do so by writing toL by June 30th 2011.

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